Matthew 24:32
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
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(32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree.—As in so many other instances (comp. Notes on John 8:12; John 10:1), we may think of the words as illustrated by a living example. Both time and place make this probable. It was on the Mount of Olives, where then, as now, fig trees were found as well as olives (Matthew 21:19), and the season was that of early spring, when “the flowers appear on the earth” and the “fig tree putteth forth her green figs” (Song Song of Solomon 2:11-13). And what our Lord teaches is that as surely as the fresh green foliage of the fig tree is a sign of summer, so shall the signs of which He speaks portend the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:32-35. Now learn a parable of the fig-tree — Our Lord proceeds to declare that the signs which he had given would be as certain an indication of the time of his coming, as the fig-tree’s putting forth its leaves is of the approach of summer; and that the time of his coming was at no great distance. For he adds, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled, — Hereby evidently showing that he had been speaking all this while only of the calamities coming on the Jews, and the destruction of Jerusalem. “It is to me a wonder,” says Bishop Newton, “how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation. And it seems as if our Lord had been aware of some such misapplication of his words, by adding yet greater force and emphasis to his affirmation, Matthew 24:35, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away — That is, heaven and earth shall sooner, or more easily pass away than my words; the frame of the universe shall sooner, or more easily pass away than my words shall not be fulfilled. In another place, (Matthew 16:28,) he says, There are some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see, the Son of man coming in his kingdom, intimating that the event would not take place immediately, and yet not at such a distance of time but that some then living would be spectators of the calamities coming upon the nation. In like manner, he says to the women who bewailed him as he was going to be crucified, Luke 23:28, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children; which words sufficiently implied that the days of distress and misery were coming, and would fall on them and their children. But at that time there was not any appearance of such an immediate ruin. The wisest politician could not have inferred any such thing from the then present state of affairs. Nothing less than divine prescience could have foreseen and foretold it.”

24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?Now learn a parable - See the notes at Matthew 13:3. The word here means, rather, "an illustration" make a "comparison," or judge of this as you do respecting a fig-tree.

Fig-tree - This was spoken on the Mount of Olives, which produced not only olives, but figs. Possibly one was near when he spoke this.

When his branch ... - When the juices return from the roots into the branches, and the buds swell and burst, "as if tender," and too feeble to contain the pressing and expanding leaves when you see that, you judge that spring and summer are near.


Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

See Poole on "Matthew 24:35".

Now learn a parable of the fig tree,.... Take a similitude, or comparison from the fig tree, which was a tree well known in Judea; and the putting forth of its branches, leaves, and fruit, fell under the observation of everyone:

when its branch is yet tender; through the influence of the sun, and the motion of the sap, which was bound up, and congealed in the winter season:

and putteth forth leaves; from the tender branches, which swell, and open, and put forth buds, leaves, and fruit:

ye know the summer is nigh; spring being already come: the fig tree putting forth her green figs, is a sign that the winter is past, the spring is come, and summer is at hand; see Sol 2:11.

{7} Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet {s} tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

(7) If God has prescribed a certain order to nature, much more has he done so to his eternal judgments; but the wicked do not understand it, or rather they mock it: but the godly make note of it, and wait for it.

(s) When its tenderness shows that the sap which is the life of the tree has come from the roots into the bark.

Matthew 24:32 f. Cheering prospect for the disciples in the midst of those final convulsions—a prospect depicted by means of a pleasing scene taken from nature. The understanding of this passage depends on the correct interpretation (1) of τὸ θέρος, (2) of πάντα ταῦτα, and also (3) on our taking care not to supply anything we choose as the subject of ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις.

δέ is simply μεταβατικόν.

ἀπὸ τῆς συκῆς] the article is generic; for ἀπό, comp. on Matthew 11:29. From the fig-tree, i.e. in the case of the fig-tree, see the parable (τὴν παρ.) that is intended for your instruction in the circumstances referred to. For the article conveys the idea of your similitude; here, however, παραβολή means simply a comparison, παράδειγμα. Comp. on Matthew 13:3.

καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ] and puts forth the leaves (the subject being ὁ κλάδος). Matthaei, Fritzsche, Lachmann, Bleek, on the authority of E F G H K M V Δ, Vulg. It., write ἐκφυῇ, taking it as an aorist, i.e. et folia edita fuerint (see, in general, Kühner, I. p. 930 f.). But in that case what would be the meaning of the allusion to the branches recovering their sap? Further, it is only by taking κ. τ. φ. ἐκφύῃ as present that the strictly definite element is brought out, namely: when the κλάδος is in the act of budding.

τὸ θέρος] is usually taken in the sense of aestas, after the Vulgate. But, according to the correct interpretation of πάντα ταῦτα, summer would be too late in the present instance, and too indefinite; nor would it be sufficiently near to accord with ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις. Hence it is better to understand the harvest (equivalent to θερισμός, Photius, p. 86, 18) as referred to, as in Proverbs 26:1; Dem. 1253. 15, and frequently in classical writers; Jacobs, ad Anthol. VIII. p. 357. Comp. also Ebrard, Keim. It is not, however, the fig-harvest (which does not occur till August) that is meant, but the fruit-harvest, the formal commencement of which took place as early as the second day of the Passover season.

οὕτω κ. ὑμεῖς] so understand ye also. For the preceding indicative, γινώσκετε, expressed what was matter of common observation, and so, in a way corresponding to the observation referred to, should (γινώσκ. imperative) the disciples also on their part understand, etc.

ὅταν ἴδητε πάντα ταῦτα] when ye will have seen all this. It is usual to seek for the reference of πάντα ταῦτα in the part of the passage before Matthew 24:29, namely, in what Jesus has just foretold as to all the things that were to precede the second coming. But arbitrary as this is, it is outdone by those who go the length of merely picking out a few from the phenomena in question, in order to restrict the reference of πάντα ταῦτα to them; as, for example, the incrementa malignitatis (Ebrard), or the cooling of love among believers, the preaching to the Gentiles, and the overthrow of Jerusalem (Gess). If we are to take the words in their plain and obvious meaning (Matthew 24:8), πάντα ταῦτα can only be understood to refer to what immediately precedes, therefore to what has been predicted, from that epoch-making Matthew 24:29 on to Matthew 24:31, respecting the σημεῖον of the Son of man, and the phenomena that were to accompany the second coming itself. When they shall have seen all that has been announced, Matthew 24:29-31, they are to understand from it, etc.

ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐσὶ θύραις] To supply a subject here is purely arbitrary; the Song of Solomon of man has been supposed by some to be understood (Fritzsche, de Wette, Hofmann, Bleek, Weiss, Gess); whereas the subject is τὸ θέρος, which, there being no reason to the contrary, may also be extended to Matthew 24:33. This θέρος is neither the second coming (Cremer), nor the judgment (Ebrard), nor the kingdom of God generally (Olshausen, Auberlen), nor even the diffusion of Christianity (Schott), but simply the harvest, understanding it, however, in the higher Messianic sense symbolized by the natural harvest (Galatians 6:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6), namely, the reception in the Messianic kingdom of that eternal reward which awaits all true workers and patient sufferers. That is the joyful (Isaiah 9:2) and blessed consummation which the Lord encourages His disciples to expect immediately after the phenomena and convulsions that are to accompany His second advent.

On ἐπὶ θύραις without the article, see Bornemann, ad Xen. Cyr. i. 3. 2; and for the plural, see Kühner, II. 1, p. 17.

Matthew 24:32-36. Parabolic close (Mark 13:28-32, Luke 21:29-33).

32–35. The Parable of the Fig Tree

Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-3332. learn a parable of the fig tree] More accurately, learn from the fig-tree its parable, the lesson that the fig-tree teaches. The parable relates to the siege of Jerusalem and the ruin of the Jewish nationality, illustrating Matthew 24:4-22.

It was spring time, and the fig tree was putting forth its leaf-buds; no more certainly does that natural sign foretell the coming harvest than the signs of Christ shall foretell the fall of the Holy City. The sequence of historical events is as certain as the sequence of natural events. And the first, at least to some extent, is within the range of the same human intelligence that discerns the promise of summer. Thus Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not discerning the signs of the times as they discerned the face of the sky.

When his branch is yet tender] Translate, as soon as its branch becomes tender, i. e. ready to sprout. Observe his for the modern its.

ye know] Rather, recognise; as also in the following verse; in Matthew 24:36 a different Greek word is rightly translated knoweth.

that summer is nigh] Or, “that harvest time is nigh,” i. e. the cornharvest, not the fig-harvest (Meyer). This is a probable rendering, because the sprouting of the fig-tree would coincide with the barley harvest, rather than with the summer; it gives force to our Lord’s words, when it is remembered that the barley harvest was actually nigh; the omer, or first sheaf, being offered on the day following the Passover. Again, the siege of Jerusalem prefigured by this “parable” took place at the time of harvest (see note, Matthew 24:21).

Matthew 24:32. Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς, but from the fig-tree) An obvious matter.—τὴν, the) sc. following.—παραβολὴν, parable) a most beautiful one.

Verse 32. - Learn a parable (τὴν παραβαλήν) of (ἀπὸ) the fig tree; bettor, from the fig tree learns its parable. Learn ye the lesson which this tree can teach you; though, indeed, it might teach other lessons than the one which Christ would enforce. When his (its), branch is yet tender (ἤδη ... γένηται ἁπαλὸς, is now become tender). This refers to the new shoots of unripened wood. Putteth forth leaves (τὲ φύλλα, its leaves). Copyists and editors vary between ἐκφυῇ, subj. aor. passive, and ἐκφύῃ, active. The Vulgate has the passive, et folia nata. Summer is nigh. The fruit of the fig tree appears before the leaves, as we learned in the story of the withered fig tree (Matthew 21:19), which the Lord may have had in mind when he gave this illustration. Did he intend to symbolize the revival of the life of the withered Jewish race in the time of the end? Matthew 24:32A parable (τὴς παραβολήν)

More strictly, the parable which she has to teach. Rightly, therefore, Rev., her parable.

Branch (κλάδος)

From κλάω, to break. Hence a young slip or shoot, such as is broken off for grafting. Such were the "branches" which were cut down and strewed in the Lord's path by the multitudes (Matthew 21:8).

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