Jesus and the fig tree, what are jws taught?

by Crazyguy 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Crazyguy

    In the story in the gospel of Mark, Mark writes that Jesus is hungry and comes across a fig tree. Mark explains that it not in season yet Jesus upon finding the fig tree has produced no fruit kills the tree.

    This story makes no sense if literal so do the gun teach that it literally happened?

  • scratchme1010

    The Bible makes no sense, imagine that!

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    I teaches that Jesus had anger issues just like his dad Jehovah other than that it sounds like a big pile of bull shit.

  • smiddy

    Jesus could have fed a few thousand more hungry people with fish and loaves of bread and had a snack himself.

  • tiki

    That one is odd in a way...I took it that it was a useless dying tree and he just got rid of it before it became a worse eyesore...then used it as an illustration of a useless do nothing person...who gets nowhere.

  • tor1500

    Hi All,

    Found this on Got Questions about the Fig tree...makes sense...

    Symbolically, the fig tree represented the spiritual deadness of Israel, who while very religious outwardly with all the sacrifices and ceremonies, were spiritually barren because of their sins. By cleansing the Temple and cursing the fig tree, causing it to whither and die, Jesus was pronouncing His coming judgment of Israel and demonstrating His power to carry it out. It also teaches the principle that religious profession and observance are not enough to guarantee salvation, unless there is the fruit of genuine salvation evidenced in the life of the person. James would later echo this truth when he wrote that “faith without works is dead” The lesson of the fig tree is that we should bear spiritual fruit not just give an appearance of religiosity. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit”...

    Does this not remind you of witnesses...they know the scriptures from back to front, they dress well, speak well, but produce no fruit...they sacrifice what they think God wants...being kind to another person is just to easy..much rather abstain from blood...extreme...


  • Crazyguy

    Richard Carrier has said much the same, that it's an allegory written by Christians to show how the Jewish temple was useless and no longer needed. It was an attempt by Christians to continue to marginalized The competing Jewish sect.

    I was just curious if the jws really taught it really happened?

  • steve2

    The trouble with ancient parables is it is literally anyone's guess about what was really meant by the original speaker. And, in the meantime, so much print expended on the topic when ultimately, Who can say for sure?

    As Freud was quoted as saying about the symbolism in his own writings, "Sometimes a trumpet is just a trumpet."

  • David_Jay


    As a Jew, the account does not surprise me. It reads like something I would expect a Jewish sage to say.

    The language and symbolism is almost trite, as the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures so commonly employ the fig tree as a symbol of adverse judgment upon the faithless that Jesus' own words seem hoary. (Compare Isaiah 34:4; Jeremiah 8:13; 24:1-10; Hosea 2:12 [or 14 in some versions]; and Joel 1:7.) But it isn't a tired usage. It is just very Jewish, and very, how can I say "prophet-y" for lack of a better term.

    As such it would not likely be an invention of the later Church, not directly anyway. By the time the Gospels began to be written there was too much of a Gentile influence for Hellenism not to influence the language. They were composed in Greek, after all, though the Jewish world of the Second Temple had not ever completely embraced the Septuagint (to this day, the LXX has little to no influence in Jewry).

    That the the fig tree incident occurs in Matthew is significant. It makes sense to see it in Luke 13:6-9 and even in Mark 11:12-14, both heavy with Gentile and Roman influence. But even with traditions like that of Papias aside, Matthew is rich in Semitic idiom and seems bent on establishing Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, fulfilling Jewish hopes both Scriptural and traditional. The language is equally untouched, with some Christian scholars wondering if the final version isn't a translation into Greek from Aramaic.

    Whatever the case, that Jesus condemns the Temple leaders and the people of Jerusalem as faithless via withering a fig tree to do so is an illustration Jews understand all too well. The texts from the Tanakh I mentioned above have connections to the First Temple's destruction and the faithlessness of the people that led to the Babylonian diaspora. It isn't far-fetched that Jesus used it to describe how little faith Jerusalem had in him. It is still an honest description of my people's faith in Jesus--practically zilch.

    But is this a statement that "the Jewish temple was useless and no longer needed" and thus part of the rhetoric that colors other parts of the New Testament that arose from the competition between Christians and Jews in the Roman world? While the interpretation thus stated colors it this way, I would lean to say "no."

    Again the image is highly Jewish, borrowed too closely as to be a product of a community breaking away from its Semitic roots. The "fig tree" is a Hebrew symbol of receiving judgment, like tossing away a fig you didn't like (something all too common in Jerusalem where the fig commonly grew so abundantly). Like any inhabitant of the city that had a plethora of figs to choose from each season, the Hebrew prophets used the fig to symbolize how easy God could dispense with or choose to keep those who serve him.

    That isn't clear if you only have the New Testament to read. If not for the Hebrew text, the whole reason for a fig being used can get lost. Why stop at a fig tree out of season regardless of how it looked? Who would want an early fig anyway? Do you like to eat fruit out of season or fruit that is in season? The whole scene is a purposeful action of a Jewish sage, going to a fig tree on purpose. The symbolism and the connection are not meant to be lost.

    How quick were any of you to note (or recall) the connection between the fig in the Old Testament or where those texts were? If this is a story describing how God is getting rid of the Jews permanently, then something is wrong. A lot is lost on the Gentile mind.

    The Gospels were also completed after (or at least near the end of) the Pauline epistle era. In Paul's letter to the Romans it had already been established even to the Gentile Christians that "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable," (Romans 11:29) that God had not and would not treat the Jews as forsaken as a whole or forever.

    So the text probably is more an opinion of Jesus of how he viewed Jerusalem, its people, and the Temple leaders. They were worthy of his judgment. They had no faith in him. While all three gospels that report this do seem to play off this to connect these words to the fall of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., this play suggests the words were there to begin with. While the connection with the events of 70 C.E. may not have been immediate by Jesus, in view of Paul's statements it can only be taken that any interpretation that these actions of Jesus implied a rejection of Jewry as a whole were probably quite later, likely far after the original apostolic college had passed on.

  • Carol1111

    Thanks, David. It is interesting to get the opinion of a Jew as you are most likely to understand the deeper things in the Old Testament which a gentile would miss.

    What do you think of Matthew 24 v 32? It mentions the fig tree coming into leaf again.

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