July 5, 2021
"After Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon had deported Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, the officials of Judah, and the craftsmen..."
“After Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon had deported Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, the officials of Judah, and the craftsmen and metalsmiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed before the Temple of the Lord. One basket contained very good figs, like early figs, but the other basket contained very bad figs, so bad they were inedible.” Jeremiah 24:1-2
In Biblical imagery, the fig is a symbol of Israel’s Spiritual identity. When the Lord showed Jeremiah two baskets of figs, He was telling him there are only two ways to worship Him: very well or very badly. Consider the prophet Micah’s usage of this imagery:
“How sad for me! For I am like one who – when the summer fruit has been gathered after the gleaning of the grape harvest – finds no grape cluster to eat, no early fig, which I crave.” Micah 7:1
Jeremiah and Micah help us understand the instance where Jesus cursed the fig tree just before He cleared the Temple.
“The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry. After seeing in the distance, a fig tree covered with leaves, He went to find out if there was anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14 (see also Mark 11:15-27)
“I will gather them and bring them to an end. This is the Lord’s declaration. There will be no grapes on the vine, no figs on the tree, and even the leaf will whither.” Jeremiah 8:13
“The Word of the Lord came to me: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: Like these good figs, so I regard as good the exiles from Judah I sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will keep My eyes on them for their good and will return them to this land. I will build them up and not demolish them; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them My heart to know Me, that I am the Lord. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart. But as for the bad figs, so bad they are inedible, this is what the Lord says: In this way I will deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, His officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem – those remaining in this land and those living in the land of Egypt. I will make them an object of horror and disaster to all the kingdoms of the earth, a disgrace, an object of scorn, ridicule and cursing, wherever I have banished them. I will send sword, famine, and plague against them until they have perished from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.” Jeremiah 24:4-10
The day after Jesus cursed the fig tree, His disciples found the tree withered. In 70AD, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the Temple remains a ruin today. But all who repent and place their faith in Messiah Jesus will be saved.