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PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE
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Matthew 24:32-34*  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

 
PREFACE FOR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS (link to this spot)
A little while back my heart was pressed and I asked God about my responsibility toward the salvation of my devout Jewish brothers and sisters many of whom are friends, whose lives revolve around their temples and faith community.  I was shortly thereafter very powerfully led, eventually to a beautiful explanation exploring not only the inseparable and loving relationship Christians and Jews should be sharing, but how this relationship is prophesied to become ever closer as we progress through these latter days.  We indeed do share the same God, Yahweh.  Please click "Timeless Covenant" for more.  It can be demonstrated mathematically that Jesus is the Messiah - Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
To my Muslim could-become brethren we do not share the same God.   On this link are videos of Muslims who have come to know the love of the one true God and the inner peace that only He can bring.
Romans Chapter 11 is a very important read for Christians that tend to be "wise in their own conceits"
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Romans 11:28  As concerning the gospel, [they (the Jews) are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

 
PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE - END OF THE AGE? (link to this spot)
Without many even being able to fully explain why themselves, hundreds of thousands of Jews are gravitating back to our covenant land every year.  Was this prophesied?
Matthew 24:32-34* Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Now learn a parable - A parable is a story used to illustrate a point.  Jesus reveals his purpose in using parables when he discusses the parable of the sower with the disciples.  Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them. More

of the fig tree;  Let's break down Hosea 9:10 - I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; Here God indicates that he was as happy with the early believers as one might be pleased with the discovery of ripe grapes while traveling through a wilderness. More I saw your fathers , Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: Firstripe describes the best figs.  Jerimiah 24:2 One basket [had] very good figs, [even] like the figs [that are] first ripe: and the other basket [had] very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.  The fig tree is Israel since the fathers were firstripe in her at her first time:  "Early faithful [but] they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto [that] shame; and [their] abominations were according as they loved.  "Now when he put all this honour upon them, and they stood so fair for preferment, one would think they should have maintained their excellency; but, (2.) See the great disgrace they put upon themselves." More from Matthew Henry.

When his branch is yet tender, Tree branches are the most tender when they are new shoots in spring, before the summer season, as the process of the restoration of the Jews began and then advanced.  

and putteth forth leaves, As the early part of the season progresses tender branches yield forth leaves.  Islam exiled Jews and Christians from the Holy Land.  But the population of Jews in Israel has been growing since the late 1800's.  From "A History of the Jews" - Paul Johnson - page 321:  "Between 1827 and 1839, largely through British efforts, the population of Jerusalem rose from 550 to 5,500 and in all Palestine it topped 10,000 - the real beginning of the Jewish return to the Promised Land. In 1838 Palmerston appointed the first western vice-consul in Jerusalem, W.T. Young, and told him 'to afford protection to the Jews generally'."

Jewish population then increased to about 28,000 by 1896 and to about 1,000,000 by 1948 when they declared their independence, and today there are over 5 million.  So it would seem to follow that the putting forth leaves without fruit, might describe the way that the Jews are being restored to our covenant land even in non-belief, as described in Ezekiel 37.


"More than 400 new immigrants will leave North America Tuesday night for Israel on two specially chartered El Al flights. These are the first of eight flights of immigrants due to leave North America before the end of this year. (2005)"    More

ye know that summer [is] nigh:  Then metaphorically summer is the season of the fruiting and also here the season of the return of Jesus Christ.
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. The reference to "all these things" includes all of the prophesy detailed in Matthew chapter 24, the Olivet Discourse (explored on it's own page), which was virtually all fulfilled by 1967.  Please see "The False Prophet" a free online book.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, The generation that sees Israel bud forth and become a nation, and the time of the Gentiles in Jerusalem fulfilled, is the generation mentioned here.  So it would follow that the generation that is the one that sees "these things", which includes also the parable of the fig tree, will not pass, unless a metaphorical generation is meant (which I personally doubt).  Also note that His coming could happen at any moment during this generation - including today - and by no means necessarily at the end of it.
till all these things be fulfilled. The same generation that sees "all these things be fulfilled", which includes the laundry list of tribulation events of Matthew 24 which culminate in the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Jewish original presence in Israel, followed by their preservation even through 2500 years of dispersion, and for the last century regathering, may describe a circle of seasons as the leafing - but not yet fruiting - of the fig tree.
Jeremiah 24:5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for [their] good. 6  For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull [them] down; and I will plant them, and not pluck [them] up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I [am] the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
 (URL to this spot)

THE PARABLE

In an adjacent hermeneutic study for the term fig tree, we find the next closest reference, in the same book of Matthew, is:

Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever." And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw [it], they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

It would seem that this is the actual parable of the fig tree, that we are told to behold, in Matthew 24:32.  As we look at the Jewish witness we see that God has indeed restricted their outreach, or evangelistic "fruiting", to their community.  God did not allow Jews to further evangelize Gentiles into Judaism.  

In my lifetime I know of only two women that "converted" to Judaism, and then only as a secular expediency of marriage.  As one indicated her conversion had nothing to do with the condition of her heart, since they were both non-believers to begin with.  

withered away
New Testament Greek Definition:
3583 xeraino {xay-rah'-ee-no}
from 3584;; v
AV - wither away 6, wither 5, dry up 3, pine away 1, be ripe 1; 16
1) to make dry, dry up, wither
2) to become dry, to be dry, be withered
2a) of plants
2b) of the ripening of crops
2c) of fluids
2d) of the members of the body
3) to waste away, pine away, i.e. a withered hand

Ezekiel 37:11-14  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.  12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,  14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken [it], and performed [it], saith the LORD.

It would seem that we have a global community of Jews that are largely agnostic, and are hungry and ready to be saved by Yahweh or Yeshuah - the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.  As I write there is tremendous spiritual revival in Israel.  Perhaps the perfection of prophetic mathematics will help Gentiles, as well as Jews, see that Jesus is the Messiah, if the Lord has lifted the "spirit of slumber" from an individual Jew's eyes and ears.  Scripture indicates that the Jews and Christians will become "one stick" in God's hand and we would seem to be on the threshold of this glorious period.  My former Pastor said that he is jealous of the saved Jews at that church, and at times wishes that he had been raised as one, because their joy and zeal for their walk with their Savior is generally so conspicuously more intense than Gentile rebirth.

Isaiah  11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
Ezekiel  37:16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions:
Ezekiel  37:19  Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

Even though God did not allow the Jews to bring gentiles into their Church, and Jewish interest would seem to be on the wane, just as is Christianity, God none-the-less preserved them as a group, even through so many centuries of dispersion.  

In today's world it should seem obvious that this Jewish sense of community, even while scattered as tribes around the globe, brought the Jews as a group into this present age, so that they could be restored to our covenant land.  At least this is certainly what we have witnessed.  As a Gentile it seems even more incredible that Jews would regather at this rate, in a country where there is every good chance that one could easily get shot, or blown up by a suicide bomb in a bus, while simply heading out to grocery shop.  

Can we can now begin to understand Matthew 24:32 where we see the fig tree putting forth shoots and branches and even leaves.  Today we can even see the fruit being set.  Interesting that "Jews for Jesus" was formed shortly after the trodding of the Gentiles in the Holy City in 1967 was fulfilled.  
"Actually, "Jews for Jesus" began as a slogan. In the late 1960's a moving of the Holy Spirit brought thousands of cause-oriented young people to faith in Jesus, many of whom were Jewish."

So how long must it be before the return of our blessed Lord and Savior?  Based on verse 24:33 we might have good reason to conclude that He is "at the doors".

 
VERSES REGARDING THE JEWS BEING RESTORED TO THEIR/OUR LAND (link to this spot)

Jewish verses:

Leviticus 26:44-45 Here scripture tells us the restoration of Israel is unconditional.
Isaiah 11:11 Here again scripture talks about a second restoration of the Jews. What would be the point of this if they were not part of the elect.
Isaiah 26;20-27:1 Talks of hiding the children of Israel followed by Satan's complete judgment. There again why hide them if not to save the elect.
Isaiah 27:12-13 talks about the final regathering of Israel.
Jeremiah:30:4-8 talks about the time of Jacobs troubles and the future restoration.
Jeremiah 30:18-24 Tell's us that a restoration for the tents of Jacob will take place in the latter days, I don't believe that this is the first restoration of 536 B.C.
Jeremiah 31:35-37 Talks about the permanent nation of Israel.
Jeremiah 33:24-26 Talks about the unconditional covenant with Jacob's descendants.
Ezekiel 16:60-63 Here again it's talking about an unconditional everlasting covenant with the Jews.
Ezekiel 37:1-28 Again it's talking about the unconditional future restoration of Israel followed closely by Armageddon in Ezekiel: 38-38.
Hosea 11:9-10 It talks about the future restoration of Israel from the West.
Joel 3:1-3 Predicts the restoration of Juda followed by Armageddon.
Amos 9:11 -15 Talks about an Israel restored to the land.
Zechariah 8:7-8 Speaks of a post-exilic unconditional restoration of the Jews to Jerusalem and the land.
Zechariah 10 & 12 Here again are more prophecies of the future restoration of the Jews.
Zechariah 14 Talks of Armageddon with the Jews in Jerusalem.

Now let's looks at what the New Testament has to say on this subject.

Luke 21:24 Speaks of a dispersion, the time of the Gentiles, and the restoration that follows.
Romans 11:11 Tells us that the Jews have not fallen.
Romans 11:17 Tells us that only some of the branches were broken off.
Romans 11:17 Tells us that the church (I believe to be the Christians) was grafted in among the Jews(olive tree).
Romans 11:28 Tells us that Gospel age Jews are still elect.
Romans 11:29 Tells us that Gods calling of the Jews is irrevocable (irrevocable means cannot be undone).
Revelation 7:4-9 Speaks of the 12 tribes of Israel in the Christian era.
Revelation 12:1-6 Again it speaks of Israel in the Christian era.
Revelation 15:3 Is a passage primarily about the Christian era, there are two songs, one for the Jews, and one for the Gentile church.

 
ON ISRAEL (link to this spot)
Scattered - The Jewish people were warned:  Deuteronomy 28:58-68 - 64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, [even] wood and stone. 65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:"
Continuous persecution of the Jews is what started the Zionist movement of the late 1800's.  Today some anti and non-Zionist positions are taken even by some Orthodox Jews.
Preserved in Dispersion - The Lord promised that Israel would be dispersed but preserved as a nation. Jeremiah 31:35-37, -  36  If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." So they would remain as a nation even through dispersion as long as there is a sun and a moon.
Regathered in Unbelief -  Many of the prophecies calling for the Jews' regathering to the land of Israel call also for them to be gathered there in unbelief toward their God. Today in Israel the average Jew doesn't believe in Yahweh God. This is explained in the "dry bones" chapter of the Ezekiel 37 particularly in Verses 11 through 14
Ezekiel 37:11-14 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.  12  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,  14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken [it], and performed [it], saith the LORD.
And the parable of the fig tree talks about leafing, not fruiting.

 "8. So far, they were only cohering in order as unsightly skeletons. The next step, that of covering them successively with sinews, skin, and flesh, gives them beauty; but still "no breath" of life in them. This may imply that Israel hereafter, as at the restoration from Babylon was the case in part, shall return to Judea unconverted at first (Zechariah 13:8, 9). Spiritually: a man may assume all the semblances of spiritual life, yet have none, and so be dead before God." -  Jamieson, Fausett & Brown
This goes for Christians and Jews.

Restoration of the Land - At the turn of this century Israel was largely desert and swamp. Today it is an agricultural wonder of the world.  
Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
The Gush Katif greenhouses alone produced up to 70% of Israel's produce.  Over a hundred million dollars in annual revenue.  They were then turned over to the Palestinians in Gaza with U.S. participation in brokering the deal.  Days later New Orleans was under water.  Read "Eye to Eye" to see hundreds of such examples of sell-outs of the Jews sharing headlines with other such natural disasters here at home, including two that attacked the Bush's personally.
Amos 9:14-15  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.  15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Ezekiel 36:35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities [are become] fenced, [and] are inhabited.

From Matthew Henry: "That the church of God in the world shall be a growing body, and come at length to be a great body (v. 6): In times to come (so some read it), in after-times, when these calamities are overpast, or in the days of the gospel, the latter days, he shall cause Jacob to take root, deeper root than ever yet; for the gospel church shall be more firmly fixed than ever the Jewish church was, and shall spread further. Or, He shall cause those of Jacob that come back out of their captivity, or (as we read it) those that come of Jacob, to take root downward, and bear fruit upward, (Isaiah 37:31). They shall be established in a prosperous state, and then they shall blossom and bud, and give hopeful prospects of a great increase; and so it shall prove, for they shall fill the face of the world with fruit. Many shall be brought into the church, proselytes shall be numerous, some out of all the nations about that shall be to the God of Israel for a name and a praise; and the converts shall be fruitful in the fruits of righteousness. The preaching of the gospel brought forth fruit in all the world (Colossians. 1:6), fruit that remains, John. 15:16."  Amazing how such accurate insight could have been formed through an understanding of scripture.
Israel's Rise in Prominence in World Politics -  Zechariah 12:2-3 predicted that Jerusalem would be politically front and center:
Zechariah 14:2-4 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
This from Matthew Henry - "The mountain being divided, one-half towards the north and the other half towards the south, there shall be a very great valley, that is, a broad way of communication opened between Jerusalem and the Gentile world, by which the Gentiles shall have free admission into the gospel-Jerusalem, and the word of the Lord, that goes forth from Jerusalem, shall have a free course into the Gentile world. Thus the way of the Lord is prepared, for every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and plain and pleasant valleys shall come in the room of them, Isaiah. 40:4. [4.] Those of the Jews that believe shall come in, and join themselves to the Gentiles, and incorporate with them in the gospel-church: You shall flee to the valley of the mountains, that valley that is opened between the divided halves of the mount of Olives; they shall hasten into the church with the Gentiles, as formerly the Gentiles with them, ch. 8:23. The valley of the mountains is the gospel-church, to which there were added of the Jews daily such as should be saved, who fled to that valley as to their refuge. This valley of the mountains is said to reach unto Azal, or to the separate place, that is, to all those whom God has set apart for himself.:"
Israel Military Restored -  Zechariah 12:6-8 says that in the days when the armies of the world will come against Israel, that the tribes of Judah would be up to the task.  It should be no surprise that the Israeli military is among the best trained in the world.  They have been victorious in skirmish after skirmish and against what would seem insurmountable odds, in every action since 1948.  Zechariah 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, [even] in Jerusalem.
Reoccupation of Jerusalem - "During the Six Day War in June of 1967, the Jewish commandos advanced up the southern end of the old walled city of Jerusalem. Under heavy fire they broke into the city through the Lion's Gate and returned Jerusalem into Jewish control for the first time in 1897 years.  On the 6th day of June, 1967, at the end of the Six-Day War, General Moshe Dayan and a tough, battle-hardened contingent of Israeli commandos stood before a wall of ancient stones. Their shoulders  were  shaking,  and  tears were  streaming  down  their faces. They were at the Wailing Wall in East Jerusalem, that Holy Place from which they had been exiled so many centuries before. They were crying thanks unto God for restoring their ancient city to them. There they solemnly swore:  "Never again shall we be driven from this place."
For the first time in 2573 years the Jews were  again  in  control  of  their  Holy  City.  Could  that  touching moment be the historic end of, "and they [the Gentiles] will tread under foot the Holy City for 42 months?" 42 months x 30.44 gives us roughly 1278.5 days:
1967 AD - 1278.5 = 688.5 AD ... the Dome of the Rock!

Luke 21:24  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Indeed we find mathematical perfection from the exile of Christians and Jews from the Holy City by Islamization, marked symbolically by the founding of the Dome of the Rock, until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled in 1967.

 
JEWISH POPULATION IN ISRAEL (link to this spot)
Jeremiah 16:15  But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
Jewish population in Jerusalem increased from a few hundred in the early 1800's, to about 28,000 in 1896 to about 100,000 by 1948 when they declared their independence, to over 500,000 in 2000, and today there are close to five million and the number is rapidly growing.  "More than 400 new immigrants will leave North America Tuesday night for Israel on two specially chartered El Al flights. These are the first of eight flights of immigrants due to leave North America before the end of this year. (2005)"
There is no doubt that the Jews would be regathering in Israel whether or not they had received their independence, as the 1800's and the first half of the 20th century would indicate.  Their population grew by 4 times in the first half of the century and by 5 times again in the second half of the 20th century and by 10 times since then.  Even if the fig tree parable is simply about describing a season, doesn't the Jews being in Israel over 2000 years ago, then being dispersed, then regathering again, describe a season?  God promised them this land.
This from Teddy Kollek - "“For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal. This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be 'Jerusalem.'”  
Joel 3:2  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
"According to the Bible, the Land of Israel (Hebrew: Eretz Yisrael) was promised to the descendants of Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by God, making it the Promised land." - From Wikipedia
For anti-Semites and others who do not love the Jewish people, God does not break a covenant.  Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:   2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  
The land was promised to the Jews.  
Exodus 12:25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.  
Deuteronomy 19:8 And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;
Nehemiah 9:23 Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess [it].

It would seem the Bible could have hardly been more specific in reference to nuclear weapons to be used in the latter days than to describe them as in Joel 2:30; And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.   
Zechariah 14:12  And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

 
EYES AND EARS
Effective study of scripture is not possible for those that attempt to understand Scripture purely through academic style study, without having surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and begun a personal relationship, therethrough being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
Saved Christians are given eyes to see and ears to hear the things of the Spirit of God.  The more we love and maintain relationship with our Savior the more we are allowed to see, and are given to do.  Indeed portions of Scripture were designed to remain a mystery to those who try to understand without the help of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus describes this, in part, when he explains to the disciples His purpose in using parables.
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:  12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them. More

 
DON'T BE A SCOFFER!  LOOK FOR HIS COMING - TODAY (link to this spot)
Regardless of our understanding we are all to look for Christ's coming imminently as we find repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
In Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of,
The same holds true whether tomorrow Christ returns, or whether tomorrow is the day we die in a car wreck.  Would you rather be one found looking to your Savior's return today, or a scoffer that says that He delays His coming?  2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.  Your life on this earth is but a shadow.
There will be no advance warning of The Day of The Lord.  2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
"God is going to invade this earth in force. But what's the good of saying you're on his side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else, something it never entered your head to conceive comes crashing in. Something so beautiful to us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left. This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love, or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down, when it's become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realize it or not. Now, today, in this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever; we must take it or leave it." - C.S. Lewis

Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six. Whose number?  Lots more on antichrist here.

DATE SETTING
QUIET FAITH

EARTH WORSHIP Consider Babylonian U.N. style "earth worship" religion, and U.N. destruction of U.S. sovereignty, and replacing U.S. laws, which are inconveniently rooted in the Constitution and in God's laws, with secular U.N. laws.  
Romans 1:22-23:  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Matthew 24:37-38 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
What is another distinction about the days of Noah?  Genesis 6:5-6  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Wonder what His view is of pornography, blasphemy, recreational drugs and abortion?  Click Matthew Henry on the days of Noe and ponder the parallels in today's society.
Luke 17:26-30 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.  28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. -
NO WARNING - Does our worldly focus today look like the times of Lot?  While it seems like a laundry list of normal life, it is showing a focus on the world, and not on the next world and our Savior.
At the same time our knowledge of the book of Daniel is increasing it is interesting to note the increase in carnal knowledge, and how the Internet - the same tool - is used for fleshly sin and sadly, especially by young people.  When Rush Limbaugh discussed his drug rehab he mentioned that only a minor fraction of the people in his rehab center were in there for drugs, and the rest were in there for "love" addiction and sexual addiction.  How much of this sexual and pornography addiction do we owe to the Internet.  
Detail from Matthew Henry.
Romans 2
Interesting to note that after the book of Isaiah was written, well before Columbus set sail, man only had to trust the Bible to know that the earth was round.  Isaiah 40:22; [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.
PLACES TO LOOK
Revelation 1:3  Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.
A word to the wise (from the wise) to those that follow the long string of incorrect modern-day "prophets": "The folly of interpreters has been to foretell times and things by this prophecy, as if God designed to make them prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own providence, not the interpreters', be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by Providence." - Sir Isaac Newton
THE STATE OF ISRAEL TODAY
Many anti-Zionists write as though the early Zionists and the U.N. partitioning of Palestine and Israel in declaring their independence in 1948, was an exercise in forcing Biblical prophesy.  If indeed prophesy was being fulfilled, was it by the plan of man?  Indeed, was it against the will of God?
Certainly a plan toward fulfilling particularly New Testament prophesy was not the ambition of the Jews involved.  Did the U.N. member nations say "Here let's get some of this scripture fulfilled."?  No.  In the late 1800's they were trying to make a place where Jews could gather together in safety after being scattered and persecuted over 2700 years, and little did they know what Hitler would yet have in store for the Jews.  Today Israel is what it is.  Should the U.S. ignore Israel, the only nation in the area that shares our western values and our Old Testament, and New Testament Christians, and leave them to their own devices, in spite of the fact that they vote with us at the U.N. more consistently than any other member nation?  Anti-Semitism is on the rise today including in the "church".  What does Scripture say?  Genesis 12:3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.  

THE BOTTOM LINE
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

THE TIME TO GET SAVED IS NOW
Time has always been running our for the unsaved for the simple fact that you could die in a car accident tomorrow, for example.  God blesses those that read, hear and keep the Book of Revelation 1:3 Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.  
It would be difficult to explain salvation better that the testimonies on these videos of Muslims who have come to know the love of God and the inner peace that only He can bring.

ETERNAL LIFE
We will all experience eternal life.  It's up to us to decide if we will spend it in the smoking or non-smoking section.  Here's an eye witness account of the smoking section - Luke 16:23-28 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
GOD'S GIFT IS AVAILABLE TO YOU
God loves everyone.  To be given the gift of salvation you confess with your mouth that you are a sinner and REPENT, and believe in your heart that Christ died on the cross to save you from your sins, and was raised from the dead.  Ask him to come into your heart and into your life that you may be saved, and begin to live your life for Him and with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 10:9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
 
SUPPORT (link to this spot)

No matter where you live in the world, you can find support in your new life's beginning by strengthening your faith through a study of scripture, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  You can go to Blue Letter Bible or Olive Tree and select any verse, and when you click on it you are offered a list of sermons and commentary, by a couple of our forefathers like Isaac Newton and Matthew Henry as well as others.

Rather than understanding the verse from 2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost., for example, some make claims like "well how could the prophets have understood the issue of homosexuality the way that we do today".  I made the mistake of spending years in such a Church.  The Episcopal Church U.S.A. is one such example that is paying a hefty price for pop-theology and heretical doctrine.  However, walking in the doors of an ECUSA church you would most likely not even notice, much less be made privy to, the apostasy that has been unfolding in that church for years.  Somewhat akin to a mugging in a dark alley, for members who do not seek the kind of information that they should, prior to attending.  The Episcopal Church also demonstrates the risk of churches organized with strong central European Monarchy style governments, which can allow a small group of bishops only, to hijack the entire church.  

1 Peter 5:1-3 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  3  Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  

TIME TO REJOICE
For believers, the Second Coming of Christ is an event for rejoicing and thanksgiving, not anxiety.  For people who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, they will finally be given relief from the increasing criminality and hedonism that evermore pervades our world, and move to our glorious forever with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The Mystery of God will be finished:  Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Live every day as if it's your last.  Whether it's the day that Jesus returns, or whether today is simply the day you are to be involved in a fatal car accident.  For the unsaved events surrounding Christ's return will offer the most horrific event in the history of mankind.

 
DATE SETTING
Date setting for the second coming of Jesus Christ is wrong.  God the Father is the only one who knows the date that Second Coming events detailed in prophecy throughout the New and Old Testaments, will unfold.  Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. BUT we are, nonetheless, to look for Christ's coming today - that is right now - since his coming is imminent and will occur when we least expect it.   1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Nonetheless we find we will know when it is near, even at the doors.  Matthew 24:32-34 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Could it be that we are being shown more today as the return of Christ draws ever nearer?  Has God unsealed the book of Daniel?  There is no shortage of sites that discuss the - parable of the fig tree - which is evidenced by Yahooing it where we find 249,000 search results.  Using - parable of the fig tree historical understanding - still yields 43,600 search results.  Matthew Henry and Isaac Newton suggested that we shouldn't overlook additional insight and understanding as it is revealed to us.
So much prophesy of the latter days and Christ's return has been fulfilled that one need not depend on this parable to know that Christ's return is truly at hand - or imminent.  Just watch the evening news and the rise in the spirit of antichrist - particularly in Islam.

 
QUIET FAITH (link to this spot)
I have seen Christians, particularly in Internet chat rooms, who label Christians who profess their faith as zealots, while professing a "quiet faith" themselves.  Certainly it is counterproductive to witness to someone who is adverse to it and restraint might be best here, to prevent further alienation.  Perhaps the quiet faith referred to, is a Christian witness demonstrating that one can swear a little less than the next guy, or maybe drink a little less than the next guy.  
As Christians are we to hide our candles under a bed?  Is this how we best bring forth fruit?  Mark 4:21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? (read more of Mark 4)  Can some, particularly young people, sometimes even be embarrassed about their relationship with Christ perhaps to a point of denial?  Matthew 10:33  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  
What does Jesus say about even lukewarm faith?  It would seem that perhaps he would rather an atheist.  A Christian that is a weak or non-existent witness, or worse yet a bad witness as in a drunkard, etc., may be more counterproductive to bringing others to Christ than an atheist, who perhaps may actually drive another to faith, through demonstration of their own depraved or reprobate behavior.  
What does Jesus say about "churchianity", or churches and church goers that simply go through the motions on Sunday?  Revelation 3:13  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. In the Greek the word is emeo from which we get emetic which is a substance that is administered to induce vomiting.  The Church of Laodicea (church age through today), turned its focus progressively toward the things of this world, and lost their first love - Christ (but not all members).  

 
IF IT'S TRUE IT ISN'T NEW AND IF IT'S NEW IT ISN'T TRUE (link to this spot)

Interestingly, a well known futurist pastor wrote the following, it would seem, while insufficiently exploring the roots of his own eschatology:  
"There's an old axiom that says, 'If it's true, then it isn't new, and if it's new, then it isn't true.'  In other words, when it comes to the Word, there are no new surprises or hidden meanings.  As the preceding passage tells us, the Scriptures are not up for private interpretation.  People aren't free to take a particular prophecy or passage from the Bible and twist it into meaning something that isn't obvious or apparent on the surface.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of this on Christian television these days.  Rather than just read through the Bible and teach on a verse in its natural context, there are a lot of people who will take a verse at random and infuse their own brand of doctrine into it [like Darby (webmaster additions in red)].  Before you know it, you've got a verse "proclaiming" something that nobody in the entire history of the Christian church has ever heard before. [like "temple of God']
Let me give you a word of warning when it comes to those whose teachings are constantly promising something "new" and "exciting."  I've found that this is usually the first step toward false doctrine and that there are many out there who just want to fleece the flock of God with empty promises.
Let me also exhort you to be careful when it comes to what you say yourself.  Whenever you think you know what the Bible is saying, take some time to compare your interpretation with what others have said over the centuries [which Darby failed to do].  If nobody shares your view, then you should remember that if it's true, then it isn't new, and that if it's new, then it isn't true."
Job 8:8-9 For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:  9 (For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)
From Ellis Skolfield:  "Hermeneutics is not a discipline we
play games with to fit our doctrines. It is a sound study of how to
interpret either the spoken word or a written document. Hermeneutics
has some excellent, time-tested rules. Among them is the
rule of "scriptural adjacency". That rule states: When you read
something you don't understand, first study the surrounding text,
then the chapter, then the book in which that chapter appears,
then the testament that contains that book, and finally, relate the
verse to the whole Bible. That is one of the rules, and it's a very
good one. In other words ...

We don't go to the Old Testament for definitions of New
Testament figures when there are New Testament definitions
that fit perfectly! "
 
USE OF PARABLES (link to this spot)

In Mark 4:13  Jesus inquired of his disciples regarding the parable of the sower: And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? Indicating that if they couldn't even understand the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-8, how would they be able to understand the rest of the parables?  Does this indicate that the other parables might be even more difficult to understand, as opposed to simple illustrations or similes?  In this parable of the sower of Mark 4, stony ground is not ground, thorns are not thorns, good ground is not ground, foul are not foul, fruit is not fruit and seed is not seed.  Therefore is it reasonable to suggest that in the parable of the Fig Tree, that branches are simply branches, leaves are leaves, and a fig tree is simply a fig tree?  
Jesus had a purpose for speaking in parables:  Mark 4:11  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables: Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them. As saved Christians then, we are given the eyes to see and ears to hear.  

Matthew 13:10-18  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  16 But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].  18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

NOTES
 
THE VINE

"The Church is compared to a vine (Ps. 80:8), and Christ says of himself, "I am the vine" (John 15:1). In one of his parables also (Matt. 21:33) our Lord compares his Church to a vineyard which "a certain householder planted, and hedged round about," etc."  
"The church is here represented as a vine (Ps. 80:8, 14) and a vineyard, v. 15. The root of this vine is Christ, Rom. 11:18. The branches are believers, Jn. 15:5. The church is like a vine, weak and needing support, unsightly and having an unpromising outside, but spreading and fruitful, and its fruit most excellent. The church is a choice and noble vine; we have reason to acknowledge the goodness of God that he has planted such a vine in the wilderness of this world, and preserved it to this day." - Matthew Henry
Hosea 10:1 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Israel is a luxuriant vine, which putteth forth his fruit," instead of "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself," of the Authorized Version."
 Matthew Henry - "Good people are compared to the good things that are first ripe, Jer. 24:2. One then is worth more than many afterwards. This intimates the delight God took in them and in doing them good, not for their sakes, but because he loved their fathers. He preserved them carefully, as a man does the first and choicest fruits of his vineyard. Now when he put all this honour upon them, and they stood so fair for preferment, one would think they should have maintained their excellency; but, (2.) See the great disgrace they put upon themselves. God set them apart for himself as a peculiar people, but they went to Baal-peor, joined with the Moabites in sacrificing to that dirty dunghill deity (Num. 25:2, 3), and they separated themselves unto that shame, that shameful idol, so Baal-peor was in a particular manner, if (as should seem) the whoredom which the people committed with the daughters of Moab was a part of the service done to Baal-peor.
Additionally Joel 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. In scripture vine is the church and His fig tree is Israel.
Matthew Henry writes: "The parable of the fig-tree is no more than this, that its budding and blossoming are a presage of summer; for as the stork in the heaven, so the trees of the field, know their appointed time. The beginning of the working of second causes assures us of the progress and perfection of it. Thus when God begins to fulfill prophecies, he will make an end."
 
Matthew Henry writes:

"The dark decrees of future fate, And sown their seeds in depth of nights.—Horace.
No man knows it; not the wisest by their sagacity, not the best by any divine discovery. We all know that there shall be such a day; but none knows when it shall be, no, not the angels; though their capacities for knowledge are great, and their opportunities of knowing this advantageous (they dwell at the fountain-head of light), and though they are to be employed in the solemnity of that day, yet they are not told when it shall be: none knows but my Father only. This is one of those secret things which belong to the Lord our God. The uncertainty of the time of Christ’s coming, is, to those who are watchful, a savour of life unto life, and makes them more watchful; but to those who are careless, it is a savour of death unto death, and makes them more careless.
II. To this end we must expect these events, that we may prepare for them; and here we have a caution against security and sensuality, which will make it a dismal day indeed to us, v. 37–41. In these verses we have such an idea given us of the judgment day, as may serve to startle and awaken us, that we may not sleep as others do.
It will be a surprising day, and a separating day.
1. It will be a surprising day, as the deluge was to the old world, v. 37–39. That which he here intends to describe, is, the posture of the world at the coming of the Son of man; besides his first coming, to save, he has other comings to judge. He saith (Jn. 9:39), For judgment I am come; and for judgment he will come; for all judgment is committed to him, both that of the word, and that of the sword.
Now this here is applicable,
(1.) To temporal judgments, particularly that which was now hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews; though they had fair warning given them of it, and there were many prodigies that were presages of it, yet it found them secure, crying, Peace and safety, 1 Th. 5:3. The siege was laid to Jerusalem by Titus Vespasian, when they were met at the passover in the midst of their mirth; like the men of Laish, they dwelt careless when the ruin arrested them, Jdg. 18:7, 27. The destruction of Babylon, both that in the Old Testament and that in the New, comes when she saith, I shall be a lady for ever, Isa. 47:7-9; Rev. 18:7. Therefore the plagues come in a moment, in one day. Note, Men’s unbelief shall not make God’s threatenings of no effect.
(2.) To the eternal judgment; so the judgment of the great day is called, Heb. 6:2. Though notice has been given of it from Enoch, yet, when it comes, it will be unlooked for by the most of men; the latter days, which are nearest to that day, will produce scoffers, that say, Where is the promise of his coming? 2 Pt. 3:3, 4; Lu. 18:8. Thus it will be when the world that now is shall be destroyed by fire; for thus it was when the old world, being overflowed by water, perished, 2 Pt. 3:6, 7. Now Christ here shows what were the temper and posture of the old world when the deluge came.
[1.] They were sensual and worldly; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. It is not said, They were killing and stealing, and whoring and swearing (these were indeed the horrid crimes of some of the worst of them; the earth was full of violence); but they were all of them, except Noah, over head and ears in the world, and regardless of the word of God, and this ruined them. Note, Universal neglect of religion is a more dangerous symptom to any people than particular instances here and there of daring irreligion. Eating and drinking are necessary to the preservation of man’s life; marrying and giving in marriage are necessary to the preservation of mankind; but, Licitus perimus omnes—These lawful things undo us, unlawfully managed. First, They were unreasonable in it, inordinate and entire in the pursuit of the delights of sense, and the gains of the world; they were wholly taken up with these things, eµsan troµgontes—they were eating; they were in these things as in their element, as if they had their being for no other end than to eat and drink, Isa. 56:12. Secondly, They were unreasonable in it; they were entire and intent upon the world and the flesh, when the destruction was at the door, which they had had such fair warning of. They were eating and drinking, when they should have been repenting and praying; when God, by the ministry of Noah, called to weeping and mourning, then joy and gladness. This was to them, as it was to Israel afterwards, the unpardonable sin (Isa. 22:12, 14), especially, because it was in defiance of those warnings by which they should have been awakened. "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die; if it must be a short life, let it be a merry one.’’ The apostle James speaks of this as the general practice of the wealthy Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem; when they should have been weeping for the miseries that were coming upon them, they were living in pleasure, and nourishing their hearts as in a day of slaughter, Jam. 5:1, 5.
[2.] They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came, v. 39. Knew not! Surely they could not but know. Did not God, by Noah, give them fair warning of it? Did he not call them to repentance, while his long-suffering waited? 1 Pt. 3:19, 20. But they knew not, that is, they believed not; they might have known, but would not know. Note, What we know of the things that belong to our everlasting peace, if we do not mix faith with it, and improve it, is all one as if we did not know it at all. Their not knowing is joined with their eating, and drinking, and marrying; for, First, Therefore they were sensual, because they were secure. Note, the reason why people are so eager in the pursuit, and so entangled in the pleasures of this world, is, because they do not know, and believe, and consider, the eternity which they are upon the brink of. Did we know aright that all these things must shortly be dissolved, and we must certainly survive them, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. Secondly, Therefore they were secure, because they were sensual; therefore they knew not that the flood was coming, because they were eating and drinking; were so taken up with things seen and present, that they had neither time nor heart to mind the things not seen as yet, which they were warned of. Note, As security bolsters men up in their brutal sensuality; so sensuality rocks them asleep in their carnal security. The knew not, until the flood came. 1. The flood did come, though they would not foresee it. Note, Those that will not know by faith, shall be made to know by feeling, the wrath of God revealed from heaven against their ungodliness and unrighteousness. The evil day is never the further off for men’s putting it far off from them. 2. They did not know it till it was too late to prevent it, as they might have done if they had known it in time, which made it so much the more grievous. Judgments are most terrible and amazing to the secure, and those that have made a jest of them.
The application of this, concerning the old world, we have in these words; So shall the coming of the Son of man be; that is, (1.) In such a posture shall he find people, eating and drinking, and not expecting him. Note, Security and sensuality are likely to be the epidemical diseases of the latter days. All slumber and sleep, and at midnight the bridegroom comes. All are off their watch, and at their ease. (2.) With such a power, and for such a purpose, will he come upon them. As the flood took away the sinners of the old world, irresistibly and irrecoverably; so shall secure sinners, that mocked at Christ and his coming, be taken away by the wrath of the Lamb, when the great day of his wrath comes, which will be like the coming of the deluge, a destruction which there is no fleeing from.
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