God speaks of His people as a tree that doesn’t bear fruit.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting, somebody called it corny, I guess it is, establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m speaking with you from the studio that I have here in my home in Tannersville, PA, and surrounded by my comfortable assortment of junk. I’ve talked with you about that sometimes. Well I’ve got what I need. I’ve got the Bible and I’ve got a concordance and I’ve got the Greek New Testament and I’ve got all of the paraphernalia that I need to operate, and the tape recorder and the timer and best of all, the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, who fills my heart with love for God and for you and enlightens the mind so that we can share together the eternal truths of the Word of God. I like this relationship, don’t you? I feel as though when I’m sharing God’s Word with somebody, I’m right in the center of what God wants, and that’s such a good feeling. Well it’s early, early morning. I make many of these broadcasts in the early morning hours because I know many of you, either wake up to it or are already launched upon the day when early in the day you hear these broadcasts. And as I’ve told you sometimes I like to feel like you do when I’m broadcasting. There’s nothing more odious than somebody who either shouts at you or lectures you, or by contrast, is officially cheerful when you don’t feel that way. I just try to empathize with you and, and fit into the way you live. Is that Alright? Well I do anyway.
We’re in the book of Mark and we’re in the 11th Chapter, you and I. We’ve just passed what is called the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus demonstrated His omniscience when He said, “You go into the village and you’ll find”, this and this and this and it says, “They found it just as Jesus had said”, and now he sits upon this unbroken colt. Those of you who’ve been brought up on the farm, you know that that would be almost an impossibility, humanly speaking. An animal that has never been accustomed to tolerate a rider upon its back, is a very difficult matter now to ride this animal on into the city, but he. He’s, He’s the creator and He knows how to speak to His creation. They came on into the city and the people cried, “Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord”. The people at that moment, some of them who later would shout, “Crucify Him”, at that moment were saying, this man is the Messiah and He will lift the yolk of Rome from our necks and this will be the kingdom of our father David.
Well, this certainly was true that, that our Lord Jesus Christ came in the lineage of King David, that is true, but it is also, see physically, through the Virgin Mary and legally, through her husband Joseph in a family sense, both of them came from a royal line, but this was not God’s time. This was in fulfillment, rather of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the coming of Messiah, the Prince, you’ll find that in the ninth chapter of Daniel.
Paul, the apostle says, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem us from the law”. The prophecy was the Messiah would come at the end of those weeks of years. Your remember Daniel was told 70 weeks are determined and this turns out to be weeks of years, and then the process is interrupted at a certain point when Messiah, the Prince comes presents Himself to the people and then is cut off.
That expression, cut off, refers of course to the crucifixion of the Savior, and then you have the years called, the times of the Gentiles. God allows these two millennia of years, 2000 years, nearly now, the times of the Gentiles and when that is fulfilled then we have the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the, the final denoument of the story of history, the coming of Christ in power and glory to set up His millennial reign.
So, all of this was not by chance, but it was in exact fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan. The people however, mistook all of this and as crowds will, they took up the theme. Here’s somebody that can break the yoke of Rome and restore Israel to a sovereign kingdom once again, the kingdom of our father David. Jesus had been preaching during three years, about the kingdom of Heaven, they as they heard the word kingdom, always transmuted it to their thinking about the kingdom, the historic kingdom of David, the Davidic line of, of the government was to be, they thought, to be restored. So that’s why they followed along.
Well, this made quite a stir, you may be sure, and the enemies of our Lord became more determined than ever to destroy Him. Well it says, “Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the Temple and when He had looked round about upon all things and now the eventide was come He went out on to Bethany with the twelve”.
Now, here’s an interesting light, on the way God teach us lessons. It says, “On the morrow when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry”. Nobody gave Him any breakfast. I’ve always felt sorry about that, you know you go on the road and you’re traveling and you’re trying to minister, doing the best you can, and if it so happens that you actually have to miss a meal because nobody thought to take care of you, you really feel sorry for yourself. I’ve been there once or twice, and so it when I see that 12th verse, “On the morrow when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry”. Well, nobody thought to give Him anything to eat, “and seeing a fig tree afar off, having leaves, He came, if haply that He might find anything thereon: and when was come to it, there was nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. Jesus answered and said unto the tree, no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever and his disciples heard it”.
Now, why would that kind of a story be put in here, if indeed all it was, was an expression of disappointment and pique and irritation on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ, who you and I know was above that kind of flaw? Why would He take out his momentary irritation on a poor tree that hadn’t had time to bear fruit yet? It says, “The time of figs was not yet”. Here is a tree that doesn’t have any fruit, because it shouldn’t have any fruit, because it hadn’t had time to bear any fruit, but it was a fig tree and our Lord said, “You’ve had it. Nobody’s going to eat fruit from you hereafter, forever”, and as you go on into the chapter, the next day, they saw the figure dried-up from its roots. Now, why did He do it?
Well, my beloved friends, maybe you know already that the fig tree in Scripture is a type of Israel. Now you’ve just had people shouting about the kingdom of our father David, mistakenly thinking that the Lord Jesus was going to restore Israel as a sovereign nation by breaking the yolk of Rome and they were proclaiming Him the King, in effect, the Messiah. He in turn, knowing the real condition of God’s chosen people at that time, that they were not only backslidden in their own hearts, buying and selling in the holy place and all that, He’s going to clean out the temple later on as we get on to this chapter, not only that God’s chosen people were in many cases not really right in their hearts, but also knowing that they were about to reject God’s proffered offer of salvation, Him that is, coming to offer Himself to Israel. They were about to reject Him and to crucify Him.
Knowing all of this, what He is doing is teaching an object lesson for those who can understand. The fig tree, God’s chosen people, fruitless, fruitless. You read the ancient proverb, it’s Isaiah and some of the others, and God speaks of His people as a tree that doesn’t bear fruit. And here is a tree, a real live tree, that doesn’t have fruit. You see the parallel? And so our Lord Jesus is saying in effect, concerning God’s people, God’s chosen people Israel, He is saying in effect at that time–look you’re fruitless and you’re not going to have a chance to exist within 70 years, Jerusalem was destroyed. God’s people were devastated. Many and many and many of them killed, you know the, the historical facts, I’m sure. See, it wasn’t a matter of divine irritation. Our Lord Jesus didn’t go into what sometimes is called a snit. He didn’t get upset enough to lash out at a poor, inanimate though living object. What He was saying was, this is a type of the people who have just been crying out, “Hosanna”, about the kingdom of David. This is a type of what they really are and where they are really going today. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? The fig tree, a type of Israel at that time.
You know, when I think about God’s blessed chosen people, so many of them are my own personal friends. Dear people. As a nation God has endowed His chosen people with qualities that many of us Gentiles might well envy. You know that. And as I think of God’s chosen people, my heart warms to the fact that God hasn’t given them up. Paul says in Romans, “Has God cast away His people”? “Oh no”, he said, “He’s is not finished with them yet”. There’ll come a time when God’s chosen people, having recognized that Messiah, will be worshiping with you and with me, and the real kingdom of heaven will have been set up upon this earth. We’ll talk about that a little more the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may the Lord Jesus Christ be King of our lives, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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