Why Did Christ Curse the Fig Tree?

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Hi D____,

Thank you for your question about why Christ cursed the fig for not having fruit on it at a time when it wasn’t even expected to have fruit. Here are a couple of verses in the Old Testament which demonstrate the spiritual significance of the fig tree:

Hos 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.
Joe 1:7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

So the fig tree is the type of what had been, up to that time, God’s physically chosen people, the physical nation of Israel.
With this in mind let’s read those verses in Mark:

11:12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
Mar 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
Mar 11:14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Christ had come to them, but as with the fig tree, He deliberately came at the time when they weren’t even expected to bear any fruit. He came to them at a time when they were preordained to reject and crucify Him.

Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But Why did “His own receive Him not”? This is why:

Act 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Act 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Christ knew Israel would reject and crucify Him. That was why He came into this world:

Joh 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

So Christ cursed His own fig tree for not bearing fruit even though He knew it was not the time for it to bear fruit. It all tells us simply that Israel was doing “whatsoever God’s hand and His counsel determined before to be done”. Christ was indeed hungry, but He was not pitching a temper tantrum, and He was not upset at the tree for not bearing fruit before its time to bear fruit. He did it all for our sakes, to teach us what He is doing:

2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

Here is an Old Testament prophecy of what God intended to do with physical Israel and all physical nations, from the beginning:

Jer 8:13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

So here is that story again:

Mar 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
Mar 11:14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

The spiritual application of this story for all of us is that “the flesh profits nothing” and while in this flesh, it is not the season for bearing fruit. We must die first before we can bear fruit.

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

The spiritual lesson in this story is that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”. Christ’s cursing of the fig tree at a time when it could not bring forth fruit is the cursing of all flesh, the old, “first man Adam” in all of us who must die and be destroyed for “the new man, the last Adam” to be born.

1Co 15:31 Every day do I die, by the glorying of you that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord: (YLT)
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

That is the spiritual message behind the physical cursing of the fig tree. I hope this helps to explain why Christ cursed the fig tree while it was not even the season for it to bear fruit.

Your brother in the Christ,
Mike

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