Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Matthew 24:32—25:30 is concerned with the church. In this portion of the Word, everything spoken by the Lord is related to two matters: watchfulness and readiness, and faithfulness and prudence. In chapter twenty-four watchfulness and readiness is covered in verses 32 through 44, and faithfulness and prudence in verses 45 through 51. In chapter twenty-five, the parable of the virgins illustrates watchfulness, and the parable of the talents illustrates faithfulness. All this is related to us. We need to watch and be ready for the Lord’s coming back so that we may be raptured earlier. We also need to be faithful and prudent in serving the Lord so that we may receive the reward. Thus, watchfulness is for the early rapture, and faithfulness is for reward. This is a very clear general sketch of 24:32—25:30.
The word “But” at the beginning of verse 32 indicates that from verse 32 through 25:30 is another section, the section concerning the church. The word “But” indicates that in His prophecy the Lord turns from the Jews to the believers.
Verse 32 says, “But learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near.” The fig tree, signifying the nation of Israel, was cursed in 21:19. It passed through a long winter, from the first century to A.D. 1948, when the nation of Israel was restored. That was its branch becoming tender and putting forth its leaves. This fig tree is a sign of the end of this age and a sign to the believers. To become tender signifies that life has come back, and to put forth leaves signifies outward activity. Winter signifies the time of being dried up, the time of tribulation (24:7-21). Summer signifies the age of the restored kingdom (Luke 21:30-31), which will begin at the Lord’s second coming.
Verse 33 says, “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the doors.” All these things refer to the things predicted in verses 7 through 32. “It” refers to the restored kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6), signified by the summer in verse 32.
We have pointed out that the fig tree symbolizes the nation of Israel. Israel is a sign to us, just as the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom is a sign to the Jews. When the Jews see the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, they should realize that it is a sign of the coming tribulation. Likewise, Israel as a fig tree is a sign to us concerning the Lord’s coming. The disciples had asked the Lord concerning the sign of His coming and the sign of the consummation of the age. In the foregoing section the Lord gives the sign of the consummation of the age. This sign is the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom. Now the Lord gives another sign, the sign of His coming. This sign is the fig tree. When its branches become tender and it puts forth its leaves, we know that summer, the full restoration of the Messianic kingdom, is near.
Today the restoration of Israel is not yet in fullness. As far as both population and geography are concerned, there has not been a full restoration of Israel. The Israelis and the Arabs are quarreling about the land west of the Jordan and about the Golan Heights. According to the Bible, the Golan Heights, close to Mount Hermon, and the land west of the Jordan belong to the good land and will belong to Israel. The Lord is sovereign and He knows the situation between Israel and the Arabs. He realizes that the restoration of the nation of Israel is not yet in full. The restoration of the nation of Israel is becoming more and more full. At the time of the millennium, it will reach its fullness.
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