Gospels in Harmony – Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

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Gospels In Harmony – Jesus Curses the Fig Tree and Cleanses the Temple

Mat 21:12-16, 18-19, Mar 11:11-18, Luk 19:45-48, Joh 2:13–16

[Study Aired April 27, 2021]

Mar 11:11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

Mat 21:18a Now in the morning as he returned into the city, 
Mar 11:12b 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 11:14a And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever 
Mat 21:19 [and] Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 
Mar 11:14b And his disciples heard it.

The following is an article from the website that gives us the spiritual significance of this story. Why Did Christ Curse the Fig Tree?

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 a 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:

Mar 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. 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
[End quote]

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Joh 2:13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
Joh 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
Joh 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

Mat 21:12b and the seats of them that sold doves,

Mar 11:16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
Mar 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Joh 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Mat 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Mat 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Luk 19:47a And he taught daily in the temple. 

Mar 11:18a And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, Luk 19:48a And could not find what they might do: Mar 11:18b because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

There is a debate in the religious world as to whether the cleansing of the temple happened once or twice. Either John’s writing of this event represents the first time there was a temple cleansing and was not recorded in the other gospels, or else in John it is not the chronological order of the event which does happen in the gospels. Mat 21:12 and Mark 11:15 state the same account of this event. This is a study in itself and will not be searched out in this particular study. Either way it does not affect the spiritual significance of the spiritual understanding of the cleansing of the temple. As we know being the temple of God we are cleansed daily.

1Co 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of Godis holy, which temple ye are.

2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

1Jn 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Here are the first verses of the story of cleansing the temple, which we are.

Joh 2:13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
Joh 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

The following is the reason there were those that sold oxen, sheep and doves among other items. The money changers were there to exchange foreign monies into what the temple accepted as money for a fee of course.

Deu 14:22-26 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

If you have a long journey to the feast the Lord has set up a way to travel lightly until you arrived at the feast. We have established in earlier studies that at this point in our walk we have heard of Christ and his miracles and may have even witnessed them. We may see Christ as our savior but do not understand there are things yet to take place before he will truly be our King. The sellers and money changers were set up in the court of the temple and that is what upsets Christ and causes him to do the following because the temple is holy.

Joh 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

Mat 21:12b and the seats of them that sold doves,

Mar 11:16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
Mar 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Joh 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

As we said earlier the selling of these things is perfectly lawful that is not the issue. The issue Christ has is where they are selling. The temple even the court is holy and not to be used for this purpose. This action by Christ is spoken by Isaiah and Jeremiah in the following verses.

Isa 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Jer 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Once the temple is cleansed, healing begins. This again upsets the priests and scribes.

Mat 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Mat 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Psa 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Keep in mind all this is within each of us and continues daily in our lives. The cleansing, healing, and even the displeasure of these thing taking place. This battle is our calling and will continue until the end.

2Co 10:2-7 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.

Christ has now entered into the court of our temple and begun the cleansing process. There is much more to come.

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