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Fig, Olive, and Vine

February 07, 2014

Yeshua told a parable about the fig tree, which we understand to represent the nation of Israel.

Matthew 24:32 – “Learn this parable from the fig tree; when you see its branches growing soft and its leaves budding, know that the summer is near.”

The softening of the branches can be seen as a softening of the heart toward Yeshua, and the budding of the leaves the renewal of Messianic faith in Israel. These things have been happening in our generation, especially since the year 2000. In the next verses, Yeshua indicates that this will be one of the signs of the generation of His return. 

Matthew and Mark’s gospels were written fairly soon after Yeshua’s resurrection, before there was an expanded movement of faith among the Gentiles. Luke wrote his gospel after traveling with Paul and seeing the revival movement in other nations. His version of the parable adds a significant small phrase:

Luke 21:29 – “the fig tree and all the trees.”

“All the trees” refer to other nations outside of Israel. God has a plan for every nation. Each nation is like a tree; the tree is similar to that of Israel but each slightly different in fruit and form. Israel is the pattern nation–what is written about Israel in the Bible has parallel meaning to other nations.

Paul had a revelation of even more than what Luke wrote. Not only would people in other nations receive the gospel, creating a unique tree of faith; but they would eventually be spiritually connected, “grafted in,” to the remnant of believers within Israel. This is the olive tree parable.

Romans 11:17 – “You branches of a wild olive tree have been grafted in among them and become partakers of the root.”

Mathew and Mark probably wrote around 35 AD; Luke and Paul around 60 AD. John’s writings seem to be the latest, around 90 AD. Matthew and Mark emphasized Israel; Luke and Paul addressed the Gentile nations; John wrote after the destruction of Israel in 70 AD and tended to write from a heavenly viewpoint, less connected to nationalistic definitions. John chose a different parable – the vine.

John 15:5 – “I am the vine and you are the branches.”

This describes a personal connection of faith to Yeshua. The vine may be seen as the spiritual Church and the fig tree as national Israel. The other trees are other nations. The olive tree is the unity of the remnants of Israel and the nations by faith.

Joel prophesied that the vine and the fig tree would bear fruit together in the end times (Joel 2:22). This may be a hint of the unprecedented cooperation we see between Israel and the Church today.

Habakkuk prophesied that even if we do not see fruit in the fig tree, the vine or the olive tree, we should still rejoice (Habakkuk 3:17). Haggai prophesied that on “this day,” God would start to bless the fig tree, the vine and the olive tree, even though until now they had not borne fruit (Haggai 2:19). 

What an encouragement! Let’s believe today for a breakthrough and new period of fruitfulness for God’s purpose in Israel, the Church and the Messianic remnant. 

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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