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    PARABLE OF THE FIG-TREE

    Verses 32, 33: “Now learn a parable of the fig-tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [“He,” margin] is near, even at the doors.” The parable of the fig-tree is probably the most forcible figure that could be used by our Lord to illustrate this subject. When the trees of the field begin to put forth their leaves, and the tender grass springs up, and the ground is being covered with its green velvet carpet, we know that summer is nigh. It is a certainty with us that summer is coming when we see these signs in nature. We know that summer is nigh. “So, likewise,” or with the same certainty, we may know that Christ’s coming is at the doors when the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, are fulfilled.EMTF 57.1

    Our Lord has stated the object of these signs, which is that we may know when his coming is at the doors. But we are told by some that the church is not to know anything of the period of Christ’s second advent. Then we inquire, Why did our Lord give signs of the event? Are they given to deceive us, to lead the honest Christian to look for Christ’s coming when, in fact, nothing is to be known of the time of the event?—Certainly not. The fact that Christ foretells signs of his coming, and then states the object of those sighs, that the church may know when the event is near, even at the doors, is sufficient proof that it is the will of Heaven that the church should understand the period of the second advent.EMTF 58.1

    Our Lord says (Luke 21:28), “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” The signs began to come to pass with the dark day of 1780. Then it could be said that redemption draweth nigh, and from that time the humble follower of Jesus might look up in expectation of witnessing his glorious appearing. But (verse 31) when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”EMTF 58.2

    The signs in the sun, moon, and stars are all that were given to base faith upon. All the other events mentioned in connection with these, have their fulfillment after the faith of God’s people is perfected, and the doom of all sinners is fixed; therefore their cannot be embraced in the phrase, “all these things,” of Matthew 24:33. The three signs having come to pass, we may now learn the parable of the fig-tree, and know that Christ’s coming is near, even at the doors. The phrase, “all these things,” does not embrace the mourning of the tribes of the earth, and the sign of the Son of man. Neither does it embrace the shaking of the powers of the heavens; for that does not take place until the seven last plagues are poured out. But the faith of God’s people is perfected, and the doom of all sinners is forever fixed, before the pouring out of the first plague. The parable of the fig tree was given to inspire faith in the minds of those who hear the reasons of Christ’s soon coming. But it is most absurd to suppose that this parable is to be learned after it is said, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; ... and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” No! The phrase, “all these things,” in verse 33, embraces the three great signs in the sun, moon, and stars, given to strengthen the faith of God’s people while merciful warnings are being given to the world. Here, then, since the falling stars of 1833, the parable of the fig-tree has force, and we may know that Christ’s coming is near, even at the doors, with all the certainty that we know that summer is, nigh when the trees put forth their tender buds and leaves.EMTF 58.3

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