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Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

The Fig Tree Parable

A key prophecy of the last days is found in Matthew 24—the famous parable of the budding fig tree (the same reference is found in Luke 21 and Mark 13).

The identity of the obviously symbolic passage has been hotly debated for years, and now my friend Michael Neutzling has brought fresh research and insight into the fig tree parable.

Let’s first look at the passages themselves:

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:32-35)

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He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:29-31)

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:28-31)

The accounts in Matthew and Mark are virtually the same, giving a bit more detail. Preterists (those who believe most of the “last days” prophecies were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70), point to the “this generation” phrase as relating to the generation Jesus was literally addressing that day in the so-called “Olivet Discourse.”

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Scholars such as Thomas Ice of the Pre-Trib Research Center, see the implications of this view:

“If this notion is granted, then almost all of Bible prophecy is not to be anticipated in the future, but is past history.”

Ice also specifically discusses the interpretation of “this generation”:

“You must make your determination from the passage under discussion and how it is used in that particular context. Context is the most important factor in determining the exact meaning or referent under discussion.

“Now why does ‘this generation’ in Matthew 24:34 (see also Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32), not refer to Christ’s contemporaries? Because the governing referent to ‘this generation’ is ‘all these things.’ Since Jesus is giving an extended prophetic discourse of future events, one must first determine the nature of ‘all these things’ prophesied in verses 4 through 31 to know what generation Christ is referencing. Since ‘all these things’ did not take place in the first century then the generation that Christ speaks of must be future. Christ is saying that the generation that sees ‘all these things’ occur will not cease to exist until all the events of the future tribulation are literally fulfilled. Frankly, this is both a literal interpretation and one that was not fulfilled in the first century. Christ is not ultimately speaking to His contemporaries, but to the generation to whom the signs of Matthew 24 will become evident.”

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I cite Ice because I think he’s one of the best Bible prophecy scholars alive today. I am excited that Michael Neutzling is continuing in this tradition by bringing the fig tree parable to light again in his new book, The Fig Tree Parable: Israel Wins in…2018?

Some will accuse Neutzling of date setting, something I stay away from. It’s a hot-button issue, if for no other reason than the missed dates set by some like Harold Camping have done great harm to the teaching of Bible prophecy.

Overlooking Jerusalem's Old City, 2011

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I don’t think Michael is doing this, and further, his spotlight of Israel as the “fig tree” is correct, in my view. He’s done an outstanding job putting the idea forth that not only is Israel the reference in these gospel passages, but that the intensifying international pressure on Israel is bringing us to the very door of the fulfillment of all the great end-times prophecies.

It’s a book I think is more than worth checking out.

  • James Sundquist

    Michael Neutzling’s book(s) on Israel complement my own DVD:
    “Global Conspiracy to Steal the Land of Israel”

    In this regard, see my Letter below to the Prime Minister of Israel:

    Dear Honorable Prime Minister Netanyahu,

    In light of the great war you are engaged in against the Prince of Darkness, I invite you to consider my film documentary supporting Israel, based on the authority of Scripture and the eschatology that gives Israel the ultimate triumph over Islam, FOREVER!

    This appeal is because I am a Christian, and am compelled to defend Israel and her land Promised to her. If any land is “occupied” it is the EAST BANK of the Jordan, as that land belonged to three of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and will belong to Israel according to Prophecy (as documented in my film documentary below).

    I heard about the article about Israel not existing in ten years, as it was featured recently on Michael Savage’s national radio show.

    I believe Israel will exist in 10 years, even were America to vaporize. Proof:

    GLOBAL CONSPIRACY TO STEAL THE LAND OF ISRAEL Slideshow
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVKPTXtoyAc&feature=youtu.be

    GLOBAL CONSPIRACY TO STEAL THE LAND OF ISRAEL DVD
    It was recently released and is now available at: http://www.cuttingedge.org/detail.cfm?ID=2538

    The Christ said that attributing works of the Holy Spirit to Satan is defined as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and is an unforgivable sin, therefore eternally damned. Islam teaches that the nation of Israel is the “little Satan”, therefore they are guilty of this very warning. But Islam also blasphemes the Holy Spirit by claiming Christ was referring to Mohammad who would be sent as the Comforter, when he meant it would be the Person of the Holy Spirit that Christ would send. Secondly, Islam is a religion of the Antichrist, by the Apostle John’s definition because the don’t believe God can have a Son, which would also deny the Father. So Islam is doubly doomed (or as Craig Winn called Mohammad, in his book Prophet of Doom), and twice dead. Rick Warren believes that his Global Peace Plan can include Muslims. Islam’s Global Peace Plan in its final form will be only one nation for the entire earth without Christians or Jews and NO land or nation of Israel. But Christ’s Global Peace Plan will contain no Muslims and no Muslim Nations, for he, as the Captain of the Hosts will lead the armies of Heaven to bring the wrath of the Lamb judgement upon those nations surrounding Israel, making war before he reigns in Jerusalem and the Prince of Peace brings His Peace to the earth.

    What it all boils down to is that this issue is ISLAM’S ESCHATOLOGY vs. BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY

    Both religions claim that in the End Times that their religion will dominate the entire earth and obliterate the other’s religion(s). That is correct, the difference is Islam demands it in this Present Age by whatever means necessary, as is going on in Iraq. It is a kingdom now theocracy. Christianity is a Kingdom Come Theocracy, but only after Christ returns. Christianity commands Scripturally to only be witnesses to carry out the Great Commission by the Word of God. Both religions will ultimately entail billions being killed. Islam’s redemption and salvation is by their own shed blood and shedding the blood of all that oppose it. Christianity’s redemption and salvation is ONLY by Christ’s shed blood. BOTH religions teach violence on global scale. But Islam’s violence is for this Present Age. Christianity does not teach violence to bring about conversion. However, Christianity will become violent when Christ returns. In fact, Christ’s violence will make Islam’s entire history of violence pale in comparison, when he, as Captain of the Hosts returns leading the armies of Heaven to the earth, as described in Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation. At the Name of Jesus, not Allah or Mohammad, EVERY knee will bow!

    “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” Philippians 2:10

    Christ, the Jew, born in Bethlehem, is the Prince of Peace, but it is not peace as the world knows. But when Christ returns he will be the God of War, and will make war before he makes Peace on Earth in his Kingdom Come, where he will reign from Jerusalem.

    I hope and pray this letter both encourages you and emboldens you, as God has raised you up to lead and defend Israel, at this very hour!

    Shalom,

    James Sundquist

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