Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Jesus was most likely speaking of the mountain they were on: They had left Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is between Bethany-Bethphage and Jerusalem. Jesus spoke to Jews who knew their own history: The Mount of Olives was, according to Jewish history, used by Solomon to erect altars to false gods and the fig tree (Israel) was “shriveled” by God due to idol worship- Hosea 9:10. Josiah had to desecrate the mountain with dead men’s bones to halt this pagan worship; To keep Israel’s priests off the mountain (high places).
I am inclined to believe that the woman “Babylon” (Rev.18) is organized religion which profits from God’s kingdom and has brought idol worship into the church. Present day Pharisees are still doing it; living sumptuously, giving power to false images and imaginations. A common thread in the Bible is God’s indignation toward idolatry- It pollutes our minds and our worship; our very concept of God. The old fashioned Molech-Baal-Ishtar worship is still very much alive today, just working in a more insidious manner; we don’t even recognize that half of what we profess is birthed from pagan idolatry. The pious Israelites brought pagan idols into the Temple of God to worship them, are we more devout than they? (Lest your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees…) For example, Ishtar the goddess of fertility and Ashtaroth the prince of hell are admired and feared today, polluting our worship and our minds (the temple of God.) Such horrible things (abominations) never entered the mind of God and are only a product of the carnal mind (read Jeremiah 7:31). Paul exhorts us to cast down imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.
God desires our worship to be in a pure form, the “fig tree” was shriveled because of idolatry. However, lest you would be left in fear for Israel, fear not, for all Israel will be saved (Rom.11:26). God’s plan is still working toward the redemption of mankind.
“‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
There will be no grapes on the vine.
There will be no figs on the tree,
and their leaves will wither.
What I have given them
will be taken from them.’”
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.
7 It has laid waste my vines
and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
and thrown it away,
leaving their branches white.
17 They will devour your harvests and food,
devour your sons and daughters;
they will devour your flocks and herds,
devour your vines and fig trees
With the sword they will destroy
the fortified cities in which you trust.
23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns.
Below from Web Article accessed at:
The Mountain Cast into the Sea
By Don Walker
The failure of many scholars and Bible commentators to recognize the significance of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is evidenced through much of their interpretation of the New Testament. One clear case of this is found in Matthew 21:21-22 where Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it shall happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”
This passage has been “fodder” for many sermons on “Mountain-Moving Faith.” I have heard sermons on “a mountain of debt,” “a mountain of worry,” “a mountain of problems,” “ a mountain of sickness,” on and on ad nauseam. Time and again this passage, along with Mark 11:23-24, becomes the “launching pad” for a “faith rocket” aimed in any direction we want it to go. This is a clear example of “a text taken out of context becoming a pretext for just about anything.” As an aside, having heard many of the so-called “faith preachers” expound on these verses about how they are to be taken “literally,” I have not, as of yet, heard of any one of them casting a “literal” mountain into the sea.
In order to properly interpret this passage we must note that Jesus did not say, “a mountain.” Jesus said, “this mountain,” which holds great hermeneutical importance. He is not speaking about “any mountain,” He is speaking about a specific one. The Greek language is quite clear on this point, there is a definite article following the word “oros,” (meaning mountain). Without the definite article it would mean that this would be translated as “a mountain.” Obviously, “a mountain,” and “this mountain” makes a difference in how one interprets what Jesus was referring to.
What mountain was Jesus specifically speaking about? I believe Jesus’ Jewish disciples, steeped in the language of the Old Testament, knew exactly what Jesus was referring to in this instance, and which mountain was to, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea.’
Mountains in the Scriptures symbolize nations and people (Isa.41:14-16, Zech. 4:7).
Exodus 15:17 tells us that God that would “plant” Israel, “in the mountain of Thine inheritance.” Throughout the Old Testament the nation was spoken of as “Mount Zion” (example: Ps. 48:11, 74:2, 125:1; Isa. 8:18, 10:12, 24:23, 29:8; Joel 2:32). The disciples were well aware of this and understood the implication of Jesus’ words. In addition, William Telford in his book, The Barren Temple and the Withered Tree, states that the phrase “this mountain” was a standard expression among the Jewish people for the Temple Mount.
“This mountain” was understood, by the disciples, to be in reference to the nation of Israel which was directly related to the Temple. Coupled with this statement from Jesus, in the midst of His warnings about the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 20-25), is His cursing of an unfruitful fig tree, as a symbol of judgment upon Israel.
Jesus was not suddenly changing the topic, away from the destruction of Jerusalem, but focusing in on the role of His followers to pray, in faith, for its destruction. Commenting on this passage in his book, Days of Vengeance, David Chilton writes:
“Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray imprecatory prayers, beseeching God to destroy Israel, to wither the fig tree, to cast the apostate mountain into the sea.”
In Revelation 8:8 we see the fulfillment of the prayers of the saints (Rev. 8:3-4), when we are told, “something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.” This is also the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the judgment of Babylon, which Jerusalem had become, “a destroying mountain” on which God unleashed His wrath. The imagery of Revelation 8:8 parallels that of Jeremiah 51:25,42; which declares:
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord,
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags
And I will make you a burnt out mountain….
The sea has come up over Babylon;
She has been engulfed with its
The apostate mountain that is “cast into the sea” speaks symbolically of the Diaspora, the dispersion of the Jewish people across the earth, into the “sea of humanity.” The mountain was not only “taken up” but also “cast into the sea” in the language of the Scriptures. It was therefore, an actual fulfillment of the prayers of the saints who obeyed Christ’s instructions.
The “this mountain” that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 21:21 was replaced by “the great mountain” of Daniel 2:35. We see the replacement of the Harlot with the Bride, Israel with the Church, and Babylon (earthly Jerusalem) with the heavenly Jerusalem.
The failure of most Bible commentators to see the significance of the fall of Jerusalem “clouds” their interpretation of this and many other passages of Scripture. It has also hindered the Church of Jesus Christ from seeing the surpassing greatness of the New Covenant, which has made the old obsolete (Heb. 8:13).