Mark 13:28
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
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(28) Ye know that summer is near.—Many of the best MSS. give “it is known,” but it may fairly be assumed, from the parallel passages in St. Matthew and St. Luke, that this was the error of an early transcriber of the document which served as a basis for the reports of all the three Evangelists.

13:28-37 We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ's coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.On the house-top - See the notes at Matthew 9:1-8. 28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree—"Now from the fig tree learn the parable," or the high lesson which this teaches.

When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves—"its leaves."

Ver. 28-31. See Poole on "Matthew 24:32", and following verses to Matthew 24:35, where we met with the same things almost word for word; so as more words need not be repeated here in the explication of these verses.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree,.... Our Lord was now upon the Mount of Olives, in one part of which fig trees grew in great plenty, and one, or more, might be near, and in view; and it was the time of year, the passover being at hand, for its putting forth:

when her branch is yet tender; and soft and opening, through the sap now in motion:

and putteth forth leaves; from the branches:

ye know, that summer is near; from such an appearance on the fig tree; See Gill on Matthew 24:32.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
Mark 13:28-32. See on Matthew 24:32-36. Comp. Luke 21:29-33.

αὐτῆς] prefixed with emphasis (see the critical remarks) as the subject that serves for the comparison: When of it the branch shall have already become tender, so that thus its development has already so far advanced. The singular ὁ κλάδος, the shoot, belongs to the concrete representation.

τὸ θέρος] is an image of the Messianic period also in the Test. XII. Patr. p. 725.

Mark 13:30. ἡ γενεὰ αὔτη] i.e. the present generation, which γενεά with αὕτη means throughout in the N. T., Matthew 11:16; Matthew 12:41-42; Matthew 12:45; Matthew 23:36; Mark 8:12-13; Luke 7:31; Luke 11:29-32; Luke 11:50-51. Comp. Hebrews 3:10 (Lachmann). Nevertheless, and although Jesus has just (Mark 13:29) presupposed of the disciples in general, that they would live to see the Parousia—an assumption which, moreover, underlies the exhortations of Mark 13:33 ff.—although, too, the context does not present the slightest trace of a reference to the Jewish people, there has been an endeavour very recently to uphold this reference; see especially Dorner, p. 75 ff. The word never means people,[157] but may in the signification race, progenies, receive possibly by virtue of the connection the approximate sense of people, which, however, is not the case here. See, moreover, on Matthew 24:34.

οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός] Observe the climax: the angels, the Son, the Father. Jesus thus confesses in the most unequivocal words that the day and hour of His Parousia are unknown[158] to Himself, to Him the Son of God (see subsequently ὁ πατήρ),—a confession of non-omniscience, which cannot surprise us (comp. Acts 1:7) when we consider the human limitation (comp. Luke 2:52) into which the Son of God had entered (comp. on Mark 10:18),—a confession, nevertheless, which has elicited from the antipathy to Arianism some strange devices to evade it, as when Athanasius and other Fathers (in Suicer, Thes. II. p. 163 f.) gave it as their judgment that Jesus meant the not-knowing of His human nature only (Gregor. Epist. 8:42: “in natura quidem humanitatis novit diem et horam, non ex natura humanitatis novit”); while Augustine, de Genesi c. Manich. 22, de Trinit. i. 12, and others were of opinion that He did not know it for His disciples, in so far as He had not been commissioned by God to reveal it unto them. See in later times, especially Wetstein. Similarly Victor Antiochenus also and Theophylact suggest that He desired, as a wise Teacher, to keep it concealed from the disciples, although He was aware of it. Lange, L. J. II. 3, p. 1280, invents the view that He willed not to know it (in contrast with the sinful wish to know on the part of the disciples), for there was no call in the horizon of His life for His reflecting on that day. So, in his view, it was likewise with the angels in heaven. The Lutheran orthodoxy asserts that κατὰ κτῆσιν He was omniscient, but that ΚΑΤᾺ ΧΡῆΣΙΝ He had not everything in promptu.[159] See Calovius. Ambrosius, de fide, v. 8, cut the knot, and declared that οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός was an interpolation of the Arians. Nevertheless it is contained implicite also in the εἰ μὴ ὁ πατὴρ μόνος of Matthew, even although it may not have stood originally in the collection of Logia, but rather is to be attributed to the love of details in Mark, whose dependence not on our Matthew (Baur, Markusev. p. 102, comp. his neut. Theol. p. 102), but on the apostle’s collection of Logia, may be recognised in this more precise explanation.

[157] The signification “people” is rightly not given either by Spitzner on Homer, Il. Exc. ix. 2, or in Stephani Thes., ed. Hase, II. p. 559 f.; in the latter there are specified—(1) genus, progenies; (2) generatio, genitura; (3) aetas, seculum. Comp. Becker, Anecd. p. 231, 11; also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 353.

[158] Matthew has not οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός; according to Köstlin, Holtzmann, and others, he is held to have omitted it on account of its dogmatic difficulty. But this is to carry back the scruples of later prepossession into the apostolic age. Zeller (in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1865, p. 308 ff.) finds in the words, because they attribute to Christ a nature exalted above the angels, an indication that our Mark was not written until the first half of the second century; but his view is founded on erroneous assumptions with respect to the origin of the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians, and of the fourth Gospel. Moreover, Paul places Christ above the angels in other passages (Romans 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7), and even as early as in the history of the temptation they minister to Him. Zeller believes that he gathers the like conclusion in respect of the date of the composition of our Gospel (and of that of Luke also), but under analogous incorrect combinations, from the fact that Mark (and Luke) attaches so studious importance to the narratives of the expulsion of demons.

[159] See, on the other hand, Thomasius, Chr. Pers. u. Werk. II. p. 156 f.

Mark 13:28. Parable of the fig tree, as in Mt.—ἐκφύῃ: this verb without accent might either be present subjunctive active of ἐκφύω = ἐκφύῃ = it putteth forth its leaves; or 2nd aorist subjunctive intransitive = ἐκφυῇ, from ἐξεφύην, later form of 2nd aorist indicative instead of ἐξέφυν = the leaves shoot out. The former is preferred by most commentators.

28. a parable] Rather, Its parable, the lesson which in similitude it was meant to teach.

of the fig tree] They had already been taught one lesson from the withered fig-tree, they are now bidden to learn another from the tree when her branch is yet tender.

Verses 28, 29. - Now from the fig tree learn her parable; that is, her own particular teaching. Our Lord makes frequent mention and use of the fig tree, as we have seen already. It is probable that a fig tree may have been near to them. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh. The branch (κλάδος) would be the young shoot, now become tender under the quickening influences of the spring; and this was an evident sign that the summer was at hand. The Asiatic fig tree requires a considerable amount of warmth to enable it to put forth leaves and fruit. Its rich flavour requires a summer heat to mature it. Aristotle says that the fig is the choice food of bees, from which they make their richest honey. Then the fig tree does not flower after the ordinary manner; but produces flower and fruit at once from the tree, and rapidly matures the fruit. The lesson, therefore, from the fig tree is this - the speed with which she ripens her fruit when she feels the warmth of summer. In like manner, as soon as the disciples perceived the signs of Christ's coming, they were to learn that he was close at hand, as certainly as the ripening fruit of the fig tree showed that summer was at hand. Mark 13:28Parable

See on Matthew 24:32.


See on Mark 11:8.

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