Dr. James Combs:  The Fig Tree  


Dr. James Combs
Conference: 1992 Pre-Trib Study Group


An excerpt from this article is:

Combs: The point is, a generation, a genea, if a time period is intended, is of varying length. It could be as little as 30 years or about 40 or as long as 70, possibly even 80 years.
When Jesus spoke of a certain genea not passing away, he can indeed be referring to huge numbers of people alive over a period of many decades.
Now if that is what Jesus meant, then what event would signal the beginning of this last generation?<

The “event” that would signal the beginning of the last generation is indicated within the context of Matthew 24. The fig tree is simply a teaching aid to represent a particular season of the year, and therefore the specific SEASON when we can expect the return of Jesus Christ.

Combs: Look now again at the "fig tree," as used prophetically in the Old Testament (Hosea 9:10) and specifically by Jesus when on earth. In Luke 13:6-9, the typology is incontrovertible: Israel is the fruitless fig tree. When Jesus performed his only negative miracle, He cursed the barren fig tree (Mark 11:12-14,20, 21), that on the very day of His triumphal entry and his almost immediate repudiation prior to the Crucifixion. While Christ taught the principle of faith from this miracle (Mark 11:22, 23), the visual object lesson as related to Israel cannot be ignored.<

How loosely this man uses the word, “incontrovertible!” Israel is NOT the fig tree.
A comparison with Luke 21:29-32 proves this. And this man even references Luke 21:30 below to focus on the “the budding”. But he ignores verse 29.
”And He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and ALL THE TREES; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.”
Jesus is NOT signaling out the fig tree to symbolize the nation of Israel.
He is using ALL THE TREES to indicate the arrival of a particular season; the season of Christ’s arrival.
Matthew 24:33, “even so you too, when you see all these things (events), recognize that He is near, right at the door.”
He is talking about the events of verses 9-26; the events of the tribulation, which will begin at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week.
This is the SEASON in which the Lord will return.
After the tribulation, which is “expected” to continue for 3 ½ years, is CUT SHORT at an unknown day and hour, by the sovereign decree of God the Father, the signs of the Day of the Lord will occur and Jesus will come “on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
This parable has absolutely nothing to do with Israel becoming a nation.
It is true that Israel MUST be a nation in order for the covenant of Daniel 9:27 to be established, which will start the 70th week. And likewise, there must be a temple in Jerusalem in order for the man of lawlessness to place the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place (2Thes. 2:3-4; Mat. 24:15).
But the parable of the fig tree relates specifically to the season that will yield the arrival of the man of lawlessness (the beast of Revelation 13) and the time of tribulation.

Anything else he writes about this is without any substance or truth

Combs: In fact until modern times, the "fig tree," representing Israel's national existence, remained "barren." In this century, in my judgment, the "fig tree," Israel becoming a nation, has budded, with a resurgence of Judaism and a dream of a new temple in Jerusalem. Just when "the budding" started (Luke 21:30) we shall explore.<

Although the exploration of Israel’s statehood is extremely relevant to eschatology, it needs to be separated from this parable that Jesus taught in the Olivet Discourse.

Combs: I continue to assert that the budding of the fig tree is a specific sign of the end times and that the generation alive or beginning with that event shall be in progress when "all will be fulfilled," including the coming of Christ, the parousia.

This is actually true. He has just failed to properly identify what the budding of the fig tree really is.

combs: A careful consideration of all facets of Jesus' apocalyptic messages in the Gospels in the light of contemporary events should be a continuing priority among premillenial and dispensational advocates, but extremism, date-setting and bizarre theories are to be avoided.<

I like this: “bizarre theories are to be avoided.” I wish he and so many others like him would look more closely at the text of Scripture so that their own bizarre theories might be exposed and corrected.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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