Monday, April 22, 2013

Parable of the Fig Tree

Believers anticipate one future event, the Lord’s return. Whether it’s the rapture, resurrection, or his second coming, we desire to be with the Lord.

In Matt 24 Jesus has told us a series of signs that will precede His coming, including the sign of His personal appearance.

The generation alive to see these signs will be the final generation. Jesus illustrates this with the parable of the fig tree.

TT- Let’s learn 3 elements of this parable.

 1. The Analogy of This Parable [v. 32].

v. 32a: Jesus used parables to conceal truth when he did not explain them or to reveal truth when he explained them. He would either grant understanding or not grant understanding [Matt. 13:10-13].

This parable was meant to be understood by his disciples. How the first readers would have understood this parable? Many confuse the parable as an allegory rather than a simple analogy. Let me give you an example:

1. They say the fig tree represents Israel. The budding of the fig tree refers to Israel becoming a nation in 1948.

The fig tree may refer to Israel in Joel 1:6-7; Hosea 9:10; Jer 24; and Luke: 13:6-10. In these passages it is clear.

Notice Jesus says, “Learn a parable of the fig tree.”

2. The budding of the leaves represents a spiritual revival in the new state of Israel. The Israel of 1948 is hostile to the gospel.

v. 32b: Palestine had an abundance of fig trees. Jesus is talking about an illustration of a literal fig tree budding and making an analogy with the coming of the Lord.

When the sap begins to flow into the branches, making them tender, and new leaves appear on the tree, you know that Spring was here and summer when the figs would ripen and be harvested.

Harvest represents judgment in Matthew- separating unbelievers from believers and condemnation of unbelievers.

Matt. 13:30, Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Read Matt. 24:38-41

When you see these signs, the time of his return in judgment is near.

2. The Explanation of This Parable [vv. 33-34].

v. 33a: “All these things”

“These things” refers to all the signs he has been talking about in vv.4-31. Just as the budding fig tree indicates summer and harvest time is near, these things indicate His return is near.

v. 34: “This generation will not pass.”

 Generation does not refer to the disciple’s generation.Those who believe that believe the events here refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

To those who hold that the fig tree is Israel believe that this generation is the Jewish people. They will not pass away as a people until these things take place.

The simple interpretation is that the leaves of the fig tree represent the birth pains and other signs. This generation refers to people living at the end time who were not taken in the rapture and will view these signs.

3. The Duration of This Parable [v. 35].

v. 35a: Jesus says plainly that Heaven and earth will pass away. Not the third heaven but the second and first. Here Jesus says this as an analogy of the enduring Word of God.

 The universe will fail, but what he just said will be fulfilled. The universe will be affected dramatically in the divine judgment a thousand years after the return of Christ.

2 Peter 3:10-13, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (11)  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12)  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  (13)  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Rev. 21:1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

v. 35b: The heavens and earth will pass away, but not the words of Jesus.
Luke 16:17, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

Tittle is a small stroke distinguishing one Hebrew letter from another. Today we would call it the crossing of a “t” or dotting of an “I.”

This parable is not an allegory of Israel but an analogy of his coming compared to the parable of fig tree.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Pope

Why do Catholics believe Peter was the first pope?

We know they teach a works righteousness and commit idolatry with Mary, but what about their false teaching of the pope?

1. The Roman Catholic church [system] sees Peter as the first pope on which Christ would build His church [Matt. 16:18]. They teach that Peter is the “rock.” Biblical Response: If one was to read Matt. 16:15-18 carefully they would see that the rock which Jesus would build His church on was Peter’s confession of faith. The Greek word for rock means “boulder” while Peter means “small stone.”

2. They teach Peter had authority over the other Apostles. Biblical Response: There is no teaching in Scripture where Peter in over the other Apostles. There is no mention of the office of pope anywhere in Scripture [Eph. 2:19-20; 4:11-12; 1 Peter 5:1; or I & 2 Timothy or Titus].

3. They teach that Peter became the first bishop of Rome when he went to Rome and that the early church accepted him as such. Biblical Response: Interestingly Paul makes no mention of Peter as pope in Romans 1:1, 7. There is no clear teaching in Scripture that Peter ever went to Rome. They get it from 1 Peter 5:13 where Peter refers to Babylon meaning Rome [code language for protection].

4. The Catholic system teaches that God passed Peter’s apostolic authority to the following bishops which are referred to as “apostolic succession.” Biblical Response: The office of Apostle ceased with the death of John. Apostleship was foundational and temporary to the church [Eph. 2:19-20; 4:11-12]. Bishops in the NT were never over a collection of churches but one church.

5. They teach that Peter and the following popes were infallible and can guide the church without error. Biblical Response: Peter was not infallible because Paul had to correct him in Gal. 2:11-13 in regard to compromising with the Judaizers over circumcision. Peter was married [1 Cor. 9:5; Matt. 8:14] and popes are not to marry according to Catholics. There is only one head of the church and it is Jesus not the pope [1 Peter 2:25; 1 Tim. 2:5].