The Fig Tree of Matthew 24

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[The Fig Tree of Matthew 24]

"Mt 24:8 sorrows. The word means “birth pangs.” Famines, earthquakes, and conflicts have always characterized life in a fallen world; but by calling these things “the beginning” of labor pains, He indicated that things will get notably and remarkably worse at the end of the era as these unique tribulations signal the soon arrival of Messiah to judge sinful humanity and set up His millennial kingdom. Cf. 1 Thess. 5:3; Rev. 6:1–17; 8:1–9:21; 16:1–21; see note on v. 14.

Mt 24:14 preached in all the world. Despite all the tribulations that would come—the deception of false teachers, the wars, persecutions, natural disasters, defections from Christ, and all the obstacles to the spread of the gospel—the message ultimately penetrates every part of the globe. God is never without a witness, and He will proclaim the gospel from heaven itself if necessary (cf. Rev. 14:6). and then the end will come. “The end” refers to the final, excruciating birth pangs (see note on v. 8). This is how Christ characterizes the time of Great Tribulation described in the verses that follow.

Mt 24:32 parable from the fig tree. When the fig branch “puts forth leaves,” only a short time remains until summer. Likewise, when the final labor pains begin (see note on v. 14), Christ’s return “is near; it is at the doors!” (v. 33).

24:34 this generation. This cannot refer to the generation living at that time of Christ, for “all these things”—the abomination of desolation (v. 15), the persecutions and judgments (vv. 17–22), the false prophets (vv. 23–26), the signs in the heavens (vv. 27–29), Christ’s final return (v. 30), and the gathering of the elect (v. 31)—did not “take place” in their lifetime. It seems best to interpret Christ’s words as a reference to the generation alive at the time when those final hard labor pains begin (see note on v. 14). This would fit with the lesson of the fig tree, which stresses the short span of time in which these things will occur (see note on v. 32). " MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 1438). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.


We are in tribulations

The Fig Tree of Matthew 24