Good day to you all dear family, and happy Sabbath and Sabbath blessing to all of you. Today, we have another parable that is nice to learn. Parables are very important, and it is nice to understand them as Christ had spoken in parables. There is so much that we can learn from them, and I have enjoyed learning from them myself. These parables will groom us into the sons and daughters of God and prepare us for His Advent. Many would not think too much about parables being of such importance, but it is how Christ reached the lost, sick fallen world, which explain heavenly truths more clearly, which the blessings that have come from this is seen in the Word of God how billions have come to Christ through these lessons that Christ preached through parables.
Parables prepare the way for understanding our Saviour, and He who is as well that will fit us up for His arrival. They will prepare us for the coming seasons that are soon to take place on this earth that will marshal in the coming of our Lord.
The Saviour is clearly giving us the signs of His coming, and more than this, He fixes the time when the first of these signs shall appear as it is written:
Matthew 24:29-31 - Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
At the close of the Antichrist’s Pope persecutions against the commandment-keeping Christians, Christ declared that the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light. Next, the stars should fall from heaven and thus was displayed the last of those signs to be of His second coming, concerning which Jesus Christ bade His disciples in Matthew 24:33…
Matthew 24:33 -When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
After these signs, John beheld, as the great event next impending, the heavens departing as a scroll, while the earth quaked, mountains and islands removed out of their places, and the wicked in terror sought to flee from the presence of the Son of Man.
But the day and the hour of Christ’s second coming, only the Father in heaven knows that day and hour.
Matthew 24:26 - But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
The exact time of the second coming of the Son of Man is God's mystery. And we should see to it that we are bearing good fruits so to not be hewn down.
Matthew 7:16-20 - Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
And to those who are bearing the fruits that Christ is the vine and we are the branch (John 15:5), we will understand that it is a little longer, and we shall see the King in His perfect beauty. A little while longer, and He will wipe all tears from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). A little longer, and He will present us "faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Jude 1:24.
Jude 1:24 - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
And wherefore, when He gave the signs of His glorious coming, He said as well…
Luke 21:28 - When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
And as Christians, if we want our portion to be the inheritance in eternal life, then we need to focus more on Christ and His teachings rather than running around and playing with the dangers of the world.
If we fight to bear the fruits of a righteous tree, Christ will prune the bad fruits. He will spare it this year also and not hewn it down but give it a chance to grow into a glorious tree.
When we look into the life of Christ, we can see in His teachings a link between many things. There is a link between the warnings of His soon coming judgment and the punishment that will come to all unrepentant souls. We also see a wonderful invitation of mercy to all who will hear His voice and repent from the works of evil.
Luke 9:56 - For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save [them].
Furthermore, we read…
John 3:17 - God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
The Saviour's mission of mercy is one that we should never forget, as it has a relation to God's justice and judgment that is soon to come, which is illustrated in the parable of the barren fig tree: "Spare It This Year Also"!
Luke 13:6-9 - He spake also this parable; A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 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 cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung [it]: And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.
When we look very close into this parable, we can see such a wonderful amount of fruitful information of truth for us all to understand. We can see a message of love, of hope, a man who desires to see good fruits, patients, tender care, pity, mercy, good judgment; we can see the fruits of a saviour; we can see cooperation, and we can see how there is the fruit of desiring not that the tree should perish, but bear much fruit.
This parable stands obviously in very close connection with all that Christ teaches. We can see that the people had been warned of the danger of perishing, unless they repented. We can see that the forbearance and long-suffering of God are helping others come to repentance. We can see this being fulfilled in the life and light in the sharp warning of the Baptist, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down” (Matthew 3:10).
The barren fig tree is also symbolic for a fruitless profession; a life of lip service and no corresponding works. In other words, it appears as a fruit tree, but it bears nothing to offer.
Matthew 15:8 - This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.
Many in the time of Christ’s ministration presented themselves as the chosen ones of God; His sons and daughters if you will, just as you see the professed doing today with their various denominations and institutions claiming to be the Birth of God’s Biblical church, but most are doing nothing in obedience to Christ, but showing lip service and bearing not the fruits of true godliness.
Let us breakdown Luke 13:6-9 about the fig tree, shall we? When we take a closer look at this, we can see a wonderful lesson.
1. The Vineyard — God’s people
What is the Vineyard? Take a look in Isaiah 5:7…
Isaiah 5:7 - The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.
So the vineyard is the house of Israel or the Lord’s people. They are the vine that was brought out of Egypt and planted.
Psalms 80:4-8 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Amen…and furthermore take a look at Isaiah 61:3…
Isaiah 61:3 -…That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
And the dying Jacob, under the Spirit of inspiration, had said of his best-loved son in Genesis 49:22, 25.
Genesis 49:22 - Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.
And he said in verse 25, "The God of thy Father" "shall help thee," the Almighty "shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under."
So God had planted Israel as a goodly vine by the wells of life. Christ had made His vineyard "in a very fruitful hill." He had "fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine."
Isaiah 5:1, 2 - Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
2. The Tree — The generation
We can see how the tree itself is the generation to whom the Saviour of the world had come which was represented by the fig tree in the Lord's vineyard—within the circle of His special cares and blessings.
So, then, what happened to the generation who represented the fig tree?
Isaiah 5:2 said…
Isaiah 5:2 - And He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
During the days of Christ, the people made a greater show of piety than did the Jews of earlier ages, but they were even more destitute of the sweet graces of the Spirit of God; the precious fruits of character that made the life of Joseph so fragrant and beautiful were not manifest in the Jewish nation as the chosen people of God, but rather of the blind lost ones of Satan, which they were led to kill the Son of God and threw Him out of the vineyard as prophesied.
Luke 20:15 - So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed [him]. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
3. Cumbereth the ground
When we take a look at the “Cumbereth the ground,” the Son of God had been seeking fruit, and had found nothing. Israel was a cumberer of the ground. Its very existence was a curse; for it filled the place in the vineyard that a fruitful tree might have filled, but it clearly robbed the world of the blessings that God designed to give to it. The Israelites had misrepresented God among all the nations as the Old Testament and New Testament proclaim. They were not merely useless people or tree, but a decided hindrance unto the Lord God. To a greater degree their religion was misleading to all and a burden to the world, and wrought a ruin instead of God’s tender mercy, and grace and His salvation.
4. The Owner of the vineyard - God the Father
Clearly, the owner of the vineyard is the Father, and the dresser of the vineyard is His Son, the Christ. They both have an interest in the fig tree and the good fruits it was designed to bring forth. The Father and the Son were one in their love for the chosen people. Christ was saying to His hearers that increased opportunities would be given them if they would have not been just hearers, but doers.
Every means of opportunity that the love of God could be devised would be put in operation that they might become trees of righteousness, which would then bring forth fruit for the blessings of the world to see. They were called to be the depositories of God’s truths, but they failed to bring forth fruits for others to see; just as we can see happening today with the professed Christian world that claims the law of love (the Ten Commandments) was nailed to the cross, thus claiming, “faith and works” is not needed just as ancient Israel proclaimed in their doings. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun, just another generation failing to bear the fruits of righteousness to a sick fallen world.
When we look more into this parable, we can see how Christ the Dresser of the vineyard did not tell the result of the gardener's work. At that point, His story was cut short. Its conclusion rested with the generation that heard His words. To them, the solemn warning was given, "If not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." This is an irrevocable statement that will be carried out to all who will not repent.
Matthew 7:21-23 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Truly, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:31 - [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The day of wrath was near for Israel as it is for us in these last days. In the calamities that had already befallen upon Israel, just as it will be for the last days, the owner of the vineyard was mercifully forewarning them of the destruction of the unfruitful tree who does not bear the works and doings of the law of Christ. The world once again has turned aside the Biblical truths that therein proclaim that the works of the law is what true love is to the Creator supremely and love that we are to show forth towards our neighbor.
The sounds of warning are sounding down to our generation and many still turn it aside. The question needs to be asked, “Are you, O careless heart, a fruitless tree in the Lord's vineyard?” Shall the words of doom be spoken of us who have the truth? How long have you received His gifts and done little? How long has He watched and waited for a return of love that is equal to His? Have we been planted in His vineyard, under placed under His watchful care, what privileges we have; and what are we doing about it?
Day by day, the clock is ticking, and time is passing by. Where is the fruit that Christ is triumphing in our lives? How often has the tender gospel truth message thrilled your heart and caused a fire to spring forth to show unto a wicked world the good fruit bearing true we are called to be who is to go forth proclaim to the world about the last great test that is coming to all nations?! Have we taken the Name of Christ and borne the cross? Or have we silenced it and walked away? Have we taken the name of Christ with lip service, but still cling to our idols that have separated us from the Lord God of Israel? Have we learned the ABC’s of being a true and pure Christian? Are we bearing the burdens of others or are we casting it away and leaving it for others? Are we showing outwardly to be a member of the church, which is Christ’s body, yet having no living connection with the great heart of love to others? Does the tide of Christ’s life flow through us?
Does the sweet graces of His character, "the fruits of the Spirit," working in our life, demonstrating to the world, those who are around us speak love for the Creator supremely and for our fellow man, especially for the brethren. Many profess they have love for others but have not the enduring fruits thereof that prove who they profess to be, especially when troubles come. Many walk away when the fire is turned up, which reveals the true fruits of all individuals who profess to love God supremely and their fellow brethren.
Truly, the barren tree receives the rain and the sunshine and the gardener's care, and they feel the blessings of the Lord, but they have no fruits showing forth and will be hewn down and cast into the fire. The barren tree draws nourishment from the soil; however, its unproductive branches only end up darkening the ground, and no fruit-bearing plants can flourish in its shadow. So God's gifts, lavished on the professed, but they convey no blessing to the church and the world. It is a selfish tree that cares not for the Dresser or for those around them and thus, they are robbing God and others of the privileges that have drawn from, but not given to others.
Many realize, though it may be but very dimly, that you are a cumberer of the ground. Yet in His great mercy, God has not cut them down. He is sparing it for a season, giving it time before time runs out. Truly, Christ is not looking coldly upon these that are not bearing the fruits of Christ right now as He is giving time. He does not turn away with indifference or leave them to destruction. Looking upon these that lack Biblical fruits Christ cries, as He cried so many centuries ago concerning ancient Israel…
Hosea 11:8, 9 - How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? [how] shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? [how] shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I [am] God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.
The pitying Saviour is saying concerning you, “Spare it this year also, till I shall dig about it and dress it.” And hopefully in this time, all who have ears to hear with will be doers and change their course, sell all that you have and give and lay it all at the cross and turn from every idol that we know has kept us from becoming as one of these little ones.
Matthew 18:3-4 - And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Christ love towards all, even after being rejected and placed on the cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Luke 23:34 - Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
And then after Christ’s ascension, the gospel was preached first at Jerusalem; there the Holy Spirit was poured out during the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:1-4 - And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There in Jerusalem was the first gospel church revealed the power of the risen Saviour. There Stephen — "his face as it had been the face of an angel" — bore his testimony and laid down his life.
Acts 6:15 - And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
All that heaven itself could give was truly bestowed. "What could have been done more to My vineyard," Christ said, "that I have not done in it?"
Isaiah 5:4 - What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
Christ’s love, care and labor for us are not lessened, but increased in hopes that we would repent and bear the fruits of love for Him and others. Still Christ says, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day."
Isaiah 27:3 - I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest [any] hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
But if it bears no fruit, then after that thou shalt be cut down and burned.
Luke 13:9 - And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.
All need to wake up to reality and understand our high calling of self-sacrificing for the cause of God and His glory regardless of what troubles we may encounter or what we may need to give up in life in order to be crowned with victory. Many cannot let go of the things of the world and its false and temporal securities. The hardened heart clings not to the faith in God and bearing the fruits but of the world while professing Christ as Lord and heirs of the promise. We need to unharden the heart, give all to Christ, give all that you have, pick up the cross in self-sacrifice as millions have even done with their own lives and bear the fruit and give not just lip service. The heart that does not respond to divine agencies today will become hardened until it is no longer receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. How we can know that our hearts are hardened is by seeing how we no longer want to hear the voice of God which is through His church and ministers. When we close out the truth and what needs to be heard, we are hardening our hearts and closing out the Spirit of God. This is the most dangerous thing one can do. This is the fruit of selfishness. God gives them life, He plants them, He gives them light, He dresses them, He feeds them, He cares for them, He gives them blessings, they taste of the heavenly gift, they call themselves the Biblical sons or daughters, but then they refuse to render back what belongs to God. They keep their prized idols and tend to their wants and needs only where they proclaim, “Am] I my brother's keeper?”
Genesis 4:9 - And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother's keeper?
Then it WILL be said of them that bring forth no good fruits, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?"
Today, He invites everyone: "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God… I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely… I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon… They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine… From Me is thy fruit found." Hosea 14:1-8.
Hosea 14:1-8 - O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive [us] graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, [Ye are] our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive [as] the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof [shall be] as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim [shall say], What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard [him], and observed him: I [am] like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
So, when we look into this parable with the symbols and the meanings we can see a clear picture:
The fig tree
Generation of Israel when Christ came to earth
Generation of today who are waiting for the 2nd coming of Christ
The fruits of the tree
Fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The fruitless tree receives rain and sunshine and the gardener’s care
Even a fruitless man receives and enjoys the sun and rain from heaven
The fruitless tree darkens the ground
You are robbing others of privileges that, but for you, might be theirs
The fruitless tree was not cut down right away
God has not cut you down right away. He gave probation for you to bear fruits
The fruitless tree
The heart that does not respond to divine agencies today will become hardened until it is no longer receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit.
So, in closing…
Hebrews 3:8-12 - Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in [their] heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
God bless you all who are daily contending and striving for the faith; let us allow Christ to dress our lives and bring forth all that He is desiring. Peace.