* Does the Fig Tree Represent Israel? Jesus warned by parable that after His three years of earthly ministry to Israel, that nation would have one more year of mercy to accept their resurrected Messiah, otherwise He would cut off their national covenant. Luke 13:6-9 "He also spoke this parable: 'A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"
Jesus came for the three years of His earthly ministry to Israel! As He said in Mat. 15:24, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (That is, Jesus died for the sin of the world, but He was sent by His Father specifically to "the house of Israel!") Thus it was from Israel that Christ sought for the fruit of faith, and found none. And it was Israel He threatened to cut off. So, a year after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, national Israel had utterly rejected its Savior. Thus as a nation, Israel lost its status with God under the Covenant of Circumcision.
* Who was Cut Off in Romans 11? The Apostle Paul explains in Romans 11 (vv. 15, 21-25, 30) that Israel was cut off for unbelief, and yet, that God is able to graft them back in again, and He will, when the fullness of the Gentiles (the Body of Christ) comes in! Demar says that Romans 11 teaches the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise that salvation would come to the Gentiles, however what he misses is that God's hope was to bring salvation to the Gentiles through national Israel! However, since they rejected their Messiah, God brought salvation to the Gentiles in spite of Israel, for the Gentiles "have now obtained mercy through their [Israel's] disobedience," and "their [Israel's] being cast away is the reconciling of the world!" Gary Demar agreed that national Israel was cut off from their covenant relationship with God, but then He added that they would never be grafted back in again. However, Paul wrote that we "should not be ignorant," and should realize that though they were cut off, "God is able to graft them in again," for what "has happened to Israel [has happened only] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in!"
* Does the Bible Represent Israel with a Fig Tree? As heard in Part I, Gary Demar disagrees with Bob and others who say that the Bible frequently uses a "fig tree" as a symbol of national Israel. But consider this excerpt from Bob Enyart's best-selling manuscript, The Plot:
- "I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree..." Hosea 9:10
- "Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so... are [those] carried away captive from Judah... I will bring them back to this land... And as the bad figs... are... Jerusalem...'" Jer. 24:5-8
- [The Lord will make Israel] like rotten figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. Jer. 29:17
- [A nation] has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree [describing Israel's destruction]. Joel 1:7
Both the vine and the fig tree sprout from the earth, from the soil beneath the land of Israel. God expected Israel, the people of the promised land, to bear fruit to Him just as both the vine and the fig tree (Song 2:13) bear fruit. Working with these symbols, God would sometimes bless or curse the fruit of the vine and the fig tree as a sign of His regard for Israel. God used good fruit or bad fruit in prophecy to represent His intentions toward the Jews. (Scripture commonly includes figs representing the blessing or cursing, etc., of the land of Israel as in Joel 1:12; 2:18 with 22-23; Num. 13:23; 20:5; Deut. 8:8; 1 Kings 4:25; Jer. 5:17; 8:13; Hosea 2:12; Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:19; Micah 4:4-5 and Zech. 3:10.) [End of Excerpt]
(This is part two of our three part discussion! So you'll want to listen also to Gary Demar & Bob Enyart Pt 1 and Gary Demar & Bob Enyart Pt 3.)
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