Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 6

The fig tree (part 2) — be alert!

Bible text(s)

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

28“Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin. 30Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

No one Knows the Day or Hour

32“No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows. 33Be on watch, be alert, for you do not know when the time will come.

Mark 13:28-33GNBOpen in Bible reader

Just as the fig tree reminds us that summer is coming, so Jesus reminded his disciples (and us) he would come again. The early Church, however, was expecting Jesus to return within their lifetime.

This passage in Mark assured them, and us, that no one knows the specific date of his return. In 2011 Harold Camping predicted Christ’s second coming for 21 May — of course, it didn’t happen. Many, many people have attempted to determine when Christ will return, and they have all been wrong.

The historians tell us that the early saints used to greet one another with these words, “He is risen,” and upon parting they would say, “The Lord is coming.” By doing this they constantly encouraged one another in the faith and constantly reminded one another of their salvation in Christ and the certainty of his return. When we see the trees around us start to blossom, we’re encouraged because we know that summer is almost here and the cold, dark winter is nearly over. We know that Jesus will come again — so let’s encourage one another today as we look forward to the day when Christ will return and make all things new, just like that fig tree.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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