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Cursing the Fig Tree

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 15:
Easter: “O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?”
and Come, Follow Me Lesson 20:
“Behold, Thy King Cometh”

 

 

Transcript

This video will discuss the incident with the fig tree focusing on
Matthew 21:17-21. Beginning at verse 17,

17 ¶ And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
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!

Fig trees normally bring forth early fruit on the previous years growth together with their leaves. This isn’t their full harvest, which comes later in the year, but a form of early fruit. These first fruits, however, were missing. Now readers of the Hebrew Bible should probably notice at this point that this is not the first fig tree or fig tree component that has made an appearance in the scriptures. That distinction goes to Genesis 3:7, reading in chapter 3 from verse 6 to verse 11:

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

In short then, Adam and Eve were the first to find that fig leaves could, in a pinch, be used for both covering and camouflage, but beware that you don’t misunderstand the point of this story, because from Jesus’s rebuke of the fig tree, we learn that if you want to cover yourself in leaves, you had better bring forth some fruit. And the first fruits of faith are repentance and baptism. Thus was both the fig tree and all of us taught a valuable lesson about not representing ourselves to be something we are not, and the associated importance of bringing “forth fruit meet for repentance” as indeed John had already taught the Pharisaical onlookers at his baptism (Matthew 3:8). Then you won’t be like those lamented in Mormon 9:5 “For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.”

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