The Fig Tree – Ezekiel 38

Before His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, Jesus warned His disciples about the global struggles that will occur in the last days, just prior to His return.  No human or even Christ Himself at the time knew the day or hour when these end times events were ordained to happen.  Jesus said that only God the Father knew.  When the Father’s determined hour arrives, He will stand up from His throne and set in motion the events that will bring forth God’s kingdom in all of its fullness.

While we believers are discouraged from speculating as to the hour, Jesus encouraged His followers to look at the signs and seasons around them to be ready for Christ’s return.  The first time, Jesus came to earth as a humble carpenter.  The next time, He will come in glory and power as eternal king over all the earth.

One of the clues Jesus left us with to evaluate the season was the parable of the fig tree.

29 And He told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees: 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. 31 So you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.  Luke 21:29-33 (NASB)

Some Bible teachers interpret the leafing fig tree in the parable as a reference to Israel’s regathering and rejuvenation in the last days.  This interpretation puts the coming of the kingdom of God in our imminent future.  This may be the correct meaning, but of course, the parable might also be referring to something quite different and with a far longer time frame.

Another event that Christ and the prophets warn about is a final attack on Israel after it has been regathered.  This alliance of armies comes under the direction of a mysterious leader named Gog of Magog.  Many Bible interpreters have assigned modern day countries and their leaders as the fulfillment of this unidentified group, while others disagree.  Without trying to identify any participants here, it is clear that in God’s timing, there will be a tremendous invasion of Israel by a large conglomerate of countries from both east and west, led and directed by a nation from the north or far north of Israel.  Israel will be overwhelmed and have no choice but to call upon the name of the Lord for their protection.  He has promised to hear their prayer and deliver them at that time. 

The prophet Ezekiel warns all of us about this event which will occur far into his future, long after the prophet left this earth.  Speaking to Gog through Ezekiel, the Lord says:

“Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.  Ezekiel 38:7-10 (NLT) 

Indications are that Israel’s divine deliverance from this attack will be a faith-developing event for the nation on the order of their initial Exodus from under Pharaoh in Egypt.  In fact, it will be a significant faith-stimulating event for all who witness it all over the globe.

18 But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over! 19 In my jealousy and blazing anger, I promise a mighty shaking in the land of Israel on that day. 20 All living things—the fish in the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals of the field, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people on earth—will quake in terror at my presence. Mountains will be thrown down; cliffs will crumble; walls will fall to the earth. 21 I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other. 22 I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur! 23 In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 38:18-23 (NLT) 

When the Fig Tree of Israel is shaken, all the world will feel its trembling.  This will be the season that Christ instructed His believers to watch for.  This event will signal the approaching end of the Times of the Gentiles and the great world empires of history.  Their replacement, God’s eternal kingdom on earth, will be led by a returning, victorious Jesus Christ.

Christ’s humble death on the cross and resurrection from the dead paved the way for us sinners to be cleansed and to live with Him forever in His new kingdom.  We are now living in the era of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unmerited favor.  It is there for the taking, offered to all who would seek it and are willing to ask Him.  Perhaps this is the hour for you to do so.

Reflection

Lord, thank You that You have promised to be the shade at our right hand, even as the mountains themselves begin to quake under Your judgement of evil.  Forgive all of our sins and make us clean through the blood sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that we may live in peace with You in Your holy kingdom forever.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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