The Fig Tree
(This article first appeared as a three-part blog by Dr. Stephen Pidgeon, June 6-8, 2015.)
There is a broad discussion about the fig tree in both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah. Can we decipher a meaning?
Shofetiym (Judges) 9:7-9
And when they told it to Yotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that ELOHIYM may hearken unto you. 8 The trees (Ha’etziym) went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign over us. 9 But the olive tree (zayith etz) said unto them, Should I leave my fatness (deshen), wherewith by me they honour ELOHIYM and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
Were we talking about actual trees, one might be concerned how one group of trees might bring a petition to have another group of trees reign over them. Therefore, it is obvious that this passage speaks metaphorically. We must ask the question, then, what does the olive tree represent?
Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) 11:16
YAHUAH called your name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. 17 For YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH, that planted you, has pronounced evil against you, for the evil of the house of Yisra’el and of the house of Yahudah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.
The green olive tree, of fair and goodly fruit, is the house of Yisra’el and the house of Yahudah; which is to say, the two houses that constitute all of Yisra’el. This issue of good fruit will be before us here shortly. Who are these two houses to YAH?
Zakaryahu (Zechariah) 4:
And said unto me, What do you see? And I said, I have looked, and behold a menorah all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spoke to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Do you not know what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of YAHUAH unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8 Moreover the word of YAHUAH came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and you shall know that YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH has sent me unto you. 10 For who has despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of YAHUAH, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the menorah and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Do you not know what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he,These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the ADONAI of the whole earth.
We can conclude therefore what is meant by the Olive Tree to whom the trees made their first request – it was the whole of the house of Yisra’el. Yet, Yisra’el declined, saying: Should I leave my fatness (deshen), wherewith by me they honour ELOHIYM and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? You see, the fatness that Yisra’el is unwilling to forego is the anointing by the ADONAI of the whole earth, so that Yisra’el might point to the honoring of ELOHIYM.
Let’s move on to our second candidate:
Shofetiym (Judges) 9:10-11
And the trees said to the fig tree (תְּאֵנִים teh-ane'), Come thou, and reign over us. [tav – aleph – nun – heh] [behold, the seed, the aleph, and the mark]. 11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness (motheq), and my good fruit (tenubah), and go to be promoted over the trees?
Now, the fig tree is going to forego this opportunity to reign over the trees as well, because it would be required to forsake its sweetness, and its good fruit.
Shofetiym (Judges) 9:12-15
Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. 13 And the vine (geffen) said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheers ELOHIYM and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
And what is represented by the vine?
Yahuchanon (John) 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches:
Not to overstate the obvious, but the vine is MASHIACH. Do any candidates remain for the trees and their desire to have someone to reign over them?
Shofetiym (Judges) 9:14-15
Then said all the trees unto the bramble (atad – thorn tree), Come you, and reign over us. 15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
The bramble or thorn tree is not a good choice. Look at the thorn tree’s place in this world:
Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 3:17
And unto Adam he said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.
Let’s see if we can get a little more information on this fig tree, shall we?
Melekiym Rishon (1 Kings) 4:25
And Yahudah and Yisra’el dwelt safely, every man under his vine (geffen) and under his fig tree (tehane), from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Shalomah.
Mishlei (Proverbs) 27:18
Whoso keeps (natzar) the fig tree (tehane) shall eat the fruit (puree) thereof: so he that waits (shamar) on his ADONAI shall be honoured (kavad).
When we see this phrase “whoso keeps the fig tree” it reminds us of other phrases concerning keeping.
18:4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA.
18:30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA.
22:9 They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I YAHUAH do sanctify them.
Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 11:20
That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their ELOHIYM.
Tehilliym (Psalm) 12:6-7
The words of YAHUAH are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7You shall keep them, O ADONAI, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.
Yahuchanon (John) 14:15
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
23 YAHUSHA answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Yahuchanon (John) 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Qorintiym Rishon (1Corinthians) 11:2
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
Yahuchanon Rishon (1 John)
2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
5:2 By this we know that we love the children of ELOHIYM, when we love ELOHIYM, and keep his commandments.
5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1:3 Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
3:10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of ELOHIYM, and have the testimony of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH.
14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of ELOHIYM, and the faith of YAHUSHA.
We conclude, therefore, that the Fig Tree is in fact the Torah – the commandments of YAH. Let’s go back to Mishlei (Proverbs) and check in on the discussion:
Mishlei (Proverbs) 27:18
Whoso keeps (natzar) the fig tree (tehane) shall eat the fruit (puree) thereof: so he that waits (shamar) on his ADONAI shall be honoured (kavad).
So what is the fruit of the Torah? Read it, and rejoice!
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 28:1-14
And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA will set you on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall hearken unto the voice of YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA. 3 Blessed you shall be in the city, and blessed you shall be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of your sheep. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your store. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed you shall be when you go out. 7 YAHUAH shall cause your enemies that rise up against you to be smitten before your face: they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. 8 YAHUAH shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouses, and in all that you set your hand unto; and he shall bless you in the land which YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA gives you. 9 YAHUAH shall establish you as an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto you, if you shall keep the commandments of YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA, and walk in his ways. 10 And all people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of YAHUAH; and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And YAHUAH shall make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which YAHUAH swore unto your fathers to give you. 12 YAHUAH shall open unto you his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto your land in his season, and to bless all the work of your hand: and you shalt lend unto many nations, and you shalt not borrow. 13 And YAHUAH shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shalt not be beneath; if that you hearken unto the commandments of YAHUAH ELOHAYCHA, which I command you this day, to observe and to do them: 14 And you shall not go aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other elohiym to serve them.
As we have seen, the Fig Tree as referenced throughout Scripture, is in fact the Torah – the commandments of YAH. Let us pick up this discussion with a verse from the Song of Solomon, or, in the original title of the scroll, Shiyr Hashriym.
Shiyr Hashriym 2:8-13
The voice of my darling! Behold, he comes leaping over the mountains, running over the hills. 9 My darling is like a gazelle or a fawn of the deer: behold, he stands behind our wall, peering from the windows, gazing through the lattices. 10 My darling answered, and said to me, Arise, my shepherdess, my lovely one, and come away. 11 Behold! The winter weather is past, the downpour is past; 12 The flowers are seen in the land; the time of pruning has attained, and the sound of the turtledove is heard in our land; 13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give scent. Arise, my lovely shepherdess, and come away.
In this verse, we see that the winter weather has past, and the downpour is past. Of course, we who see this scroll as prophecy concerning the taking of the Bride by the Bridegroom (the gathering of the remnant of the house of Yisra’el to the coming King of Kings), this winter weather and downpour may be a metaphor concerning the ongoing tribulation of the qodeshiym (saints) in our world today.
We have discussed this before, when discussing the time of MASHIACH in the wilderness (b’midbar). You recall his departure was for forty days. When we expand this prophetically to reach an outer macro, the expansion can be: one day (yom) equals a year (shanah), but the word for year (shanah) can also mean a jubilee year (yovheliym shanah), giving us an outer boundary of the time period as forty jubilees (40 x 50 years = 2,000 years). This places the body of MASHIACH – the kahil’oth am qodesh – in the wilderness of diaspora for 40 jubilees or 2,000 years.
Let us reflect on this a bit more.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:34
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
During the first exodus, the house of Yisra’el (Yashar’el) commenced their journey from Mitsrayim (Egypt) to the adamah qodesh (Holy Land), which could have been accomplished in as little as 11 days. But, there was much to learn.
Yovheliym (Jubilees) 50:4
Wherefore I have ordained for you the year weeks and the years and the jubilees: there are forty nine jubilees from the days of Adam until this day, and one week and two years: and there are yet forty years to come for learning the commandments of YAHUAH, until they pass over into the land of Kena`an, crossing the Yarden to the west.
This remarkable verse tells us that the house of Yisra’el would not pass over into the adamah qodesh (Holy Land) until the completion of 49 jubilees, plus one week of years (7 years), plus two years (2), plus the forty years required to learn the Torah (40), for a total of 49 jubilees and 49 years. In short, Yisra’el enters the land on the first day of the 50th jubilee, counting from the breath of ELOHIYM in the nostrils of Adam forward (who exited the garden on the 1st day of the first jubilee).
Again, the word used for years here is shanah שָׁנָה, which means a year, but also a revolution of time, or a whole age. It is possible therefore, that shanah also refers to a jubilee year, giving us a revolution of time of 50 years. (And the word used to describe the numbers of years in a jubilee is fifty, not forty-nine).
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 25:11
A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed.
As a consequence, the second exodus and the forty years in the wilderness is not set to occur, it is now set to be completed, because the house of Yisra’el in the body of MASHIACH has been in diaspora for forty jubilee years since the proclamation of MASHIACH at the synagogue in Natsareth (Nazareth) on Yom Kippuriym in the year 17 AD:
Lucas (Luke) 4:16
And he came to Natsareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Shabbat, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the cepher of the prophet Yesha`yahu. And when he had opened the cepher, he found the place where it was written, 18 The RUACH ADONAI YAHUAH is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Besorah to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of YAHUAH. 20 And he closed the cepher, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scrip-ture fulfilled in your ears.
Let us then consider our verse from the Song of Solomon:
The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give scent. Arise, my lovely shepherdess, and come away.
This phrase becomes a dead give-away when we use the word “when” to tell us of the prophecy:
When the fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give scent, then the Bridegroom will say: arise, my lovely shepherdess, and come away.
Well then, what is this discussion about the fig tree putting forth green figs? As we discussed before, the fig tree is a metaphor for the Torah. Coming under the fig tree, means to come under the Torah. Each man under his own fig tree, means each man living in accord with his own self-designed torah. The symbolism here is that the Torah again begins to bloom among the house of Yisra’el. Do you see it?
Now consider this parable, ye who are not given to understand the mysteries of YAH:
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 21:18
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Let’s be clear about the meaning of this passage. If the Torah is not being taught in the congregation where you are attending, your fig tree is a tree without fruit. The lawlessness you have been taught is wrong, and more importantly, when MASHIACH returns and finds your fig tree with no fruit, his words will be: let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever; and you can expect that your fig tree will immediately wither away.
Let’s see if there is a second witness:
Lucas (Luke) 13:6
He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumber the ground with it? 8 And he answering said unto him, Adonai, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.
Again, the fig tree is the Torah – the instruction of YAH in the way of life which is MASHIACH, the living Torah – and the vineyard is the body of MASHIACH. Now, let’s look at this verse and include its meaning:
A certain man had a fig tree (the Torah) planted in his vineyard (given to his people); and he came and sought fruit thereon (the fruit of the practice of the Torah), and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard (the shepherds of his people), Behold, these three years (three millennia) I come seeking fruit (the practice of the Torah) on this fig tree (the Torah as given), and find none: cut it down; why cumber the ground with it? 8 And he answering said unto him, Adonai, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.
I will leave you with this:
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:17
Think not that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one Yod or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Torah, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of YAHUAH: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of YAHUAH. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Parashiym, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of YAHUAH.
Finally, and in the last instance of this discussion of the fig tree as a metaphor for the Torah, consider the instruction from the Besor’oth:
Marcus (Mark) 13:4-27
Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
And YAHUSHA answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am MASHIACH; and shall deceive many. 7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things need to be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the RUACH HAQODESH. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take anything out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which ELOHIYM created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is MASHIACH; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false MASHIAHS and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
So here are the signs of the coming of the Son of Man, in his own words. But, he continues:
Marcus (Mark) 13:28-32
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
When the fig tree puts forth leaves . . . Here is a tremendous sign which signals the coming of the Son of Man, for it is when the Torah begins to bloom anew after all of these centuries.
Of course, as we read this verse, we are referred constantly to verse 30 for those who have run away from prophecy, and the spirit of prophecy which is the testimony of HAMASHIACH. Not surprisingly, we often find this same group preaching and practicing lawlessness as well, as they have neither the commandments nor the testimony.
Every prophecy conference usually begins with a disclaimer about the setting of dates, because of course, no man knows the hour and the day; therefore, feel free to leave your lamp without oil.
However, the truth of this statement is that no man knows the day and the hour that heaven and earth shall pass away, not when the tribulation of the qodeshiym and the time of Ya’aqov’s sorrows occurs, which is but the end of the age.
There is of course a second witness to this parable of the fig tree:
Lucas (Luke) 21:25-32
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of Adam coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh. 29 And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the Kingdom of YAHUAH is nigh at hand. 32 Amein I say unto you, This tribe shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
So Marcus tells us that when we see these things come to pass, we will know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Luke tells us that when we see these things come to pass, we will know that the Kingdom of YAHUAH is nigh at hand.
So, which is it? Do we know or not know? The answer is, yes we will know when the Kingdom of YAHUAH is nigh; we won’t know the day or the hour when heaven and earth pass away. It appears to me that those concepts are exactly the concepts conveyed in both testimonies above.
Let us then rejoice in the green shoots of the fig tree as the tree starts to bud, for the Torah again begins to bloom among those who are called out to guard the commandments of YAHUAH, and to keep the testimony of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH – which is the spirit of prophecy.