Fig Trees…An interesting Biblical History

As we follow Our Lord’s last week before His glorious resurrection, the curse of the fig tree by Jesus is assumed to have happened on Monday of the Holy week. Like anything that is written in the Bible, nothing happens out of coincidence, there is always a reason.

The fig tree is the third tree to be named in Bible just after the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve used leafs from a Fig Tree to cover their bodies after they had eaten from the forbidden Tree.

The fig tree in the Old Testament is usually linked to wealth and prosperity.

The parable of the budding Fig Tree that announces the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 21:29-33)

The parable of the barren Fig Tree, where the vinekeeper holds out hope that the tree will bear fruit next year.

And finally, the curse of the Fig Tree

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 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. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Matthew 21:18-20

The great commentary of Cornelius A Lapide provides an excellent explanation to these verses:

Symbolically: Christ cursed the fig tree, because a fig was the tree which God forbade, of which Adam ate, and ruined himself and his posterity.

Allegorically: the withered fig tree denotes the Jews, who when Christ came, being unbelieving, lost the sap of faith and grace, and so bring forth no fruits of good works.

Tropologically: the fig tree, full of leaves but without figs, denotes believers who have the leaves of a profession of the faith but lack the solid fruit of virtues, and so will be cursed by Christ.


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