“LOOK AT THE FIG TREE AND ALL THE TREES” LUKE 21:29
By: Michael J. Sullivan
In my previous article I wanted to challenge some partial preterist and preterist interpretive concepts of Christ coming as “lightning.” I argued that Christ coming as the “Sun” or the “Sun of Righteousness” from the east to the west should be preferred. Although it may be intriguing to discuss the direction of armies as they approached Jerusalem throughout her history etc., I think there is more involved especially as we look at Isaiah and Malachi. So why not challenge another standard preterist interpretation in the Olivet discourse while we are at it?
Since Dispensationalists usually interpret the fig tree in Matthew 24:32 as the Nation of Israel coming back into the land in 1948, preterists usually counter with Luke 21:29 and ask, “Well, if Israel is the fig tree beginning to get tender in 1948, then what about “all the trees” or nations? What happen to them in 1948?!?” It is then pointed out that the next verse equates the signs with the leaves beginning to get tender and the kingdoms arrival with Christ’s return as “summer.” Well, why not combine the two concepts? I don’t have a problem in the least seeing Israel as the “fig tree” beginning to bud or the rest of “all the trees” – or nations, prior to A.D. 70 as a “sign” of Christ’s imminent return. Other than the abomination of desolation, the other major sign that marked “the end” is the Great Commission. The gospel was bearing fruit throughout the land of Israel and among the gentile nations within the Roman Empire or world as they knew it (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Isa. 27:6).
I remember my former Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA., always wanted to get people excited about how much agriculture and flowers he saw over in Israel the last time he was there. It was supposed to be a “sign” along with Israel making plans to build the temple again –yadee yadee. You know the story. But this isn’t the kind of fruit and blossoming the book of Isaiah or Jesus is concerned with! The Bible is always interested in the heart and it is “within” and “in” this realm where the kingdom of heaven would come in Jesus’ “this generation” (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:31-32).
Israel was the “seed” or “fig tree” that was “being sown” with the gospel and the resurrection power of eternal life was raising her in 1 Cor. 15:37-44. Without God attending to this tree or vineyard and it yielding its resurrection fruit, there would be no life for the gentiles and the rest of “all the trees” / gentiles (cf. Rom. 11:15ff.).
To conclude these two brief articles, I believe it was the “Sun of Righteousness” that shown from the east to the west through the resurrecting power of the gospel fulfilling the Great Commission, that brought to life Israel “the fig tree” and the gentile nations “and all the trees” into one new man or olive tree (Rom. 11) by A.D. 70. I hope these two articles have blessed you in your studies of God’s Word.