Matthew 24

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Fig tree with figs

Matthew 24:32-33

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:
As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out,
you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see 
all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

To understand the parable of the fig tree there are some important
concepts that we must first understand.   The concept is what we
hold as the basis for understanding all truth.  The second is the
definition of the people known as the elect.  The third is an
understanding or the events associated with the return of Christ.
Once we understand these things then the parable of the fig tree 
will make a direct application to your life.

The Word of God is the basis for all Truth.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB).

I believe the Bible to be the complete word of God, the final
authority of all doctrine.

Even though we, or an angel from heaven should preach to you 
another gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you,
let him be accursed! Galatians 1:8 (NASB)

Any doctrine that we hold should be consistent with the whole 
of all Scripture.  I urge you to study the Scriptures to 
understand what God is teaching, with out any preconceived 
notions.  Then we can understand Scripture for what Scripture
teaches and base our doctrine on that.  The Bible teaches that
there will be a time (and I believe that we are currently living
in that time) when doctrine will be taught not because it is the
word of God but because it is what people want to hear.  

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled they will accumulate for
themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 
and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn 
aside to myths. -  2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NASB)

There are many myths being taught today among the world 
religions.  Unfortunately some have made their way into the 
Church.  This is why it is so important to hold fast to sound
doctrine.  Sound doctrine is understanding Scripture for what 
it says in context and in the light of other Scripture.

The parable teaches that although we do not know the exact time 
of the Lord's return we will know when He is near from the 
events happening in the world, specifically the great tribulation.

Please know that God's way has always been to see a person through
a time of trouble, not to remove the trouble.  For an example, 
look at Daniel and the Lion's den.  God did not remove Daniel from
the lions den, however he did protect him through it.

The Book of James teaches that tribulation (trouble) is necessary
for the perfecting of our faith, and that we should count it as
joy.  The trouble that could arise if one holds the pre-
tribulation doctrine is that one may find themselves in the midst
of the tribulation and feel that God has neglected his promise 
which could lead to one's love to grow cold or to walk away from
their faith.

The conclusions that I have drawn are not merely from the verses
of Scripture that I have quoted, but on the whole of Scripture as
I understand it.  I pray that you would not merely take my word 
or that of any other Bible teacher as doctrine, but rather to 
search the Scriptures diligently and come to a clear understanding.

I further pray that the Holy Spirit would give you understanding
as to the Scriptures, and that we would be found spreading the 
word of God to this lost generation, as if snatching them out of
the fire, until the Lord returns.

Amid trials the LORD will provide and protect His obedient ones.
Read Psalm 91

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to
you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come
like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, "Peace and
safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains
on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you, brothers,
are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a
thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do
not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not
be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and 
self-controlled.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those
who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day,
let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a 
breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did
not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through
our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are 
awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as
in fact you are doing.  1 Thesselonians 5:1-11 (NIV)

Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall
be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last 
trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will 
be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NASB)

It is at the sounding of the last trumpet when the Lord will
gather together all that are in Christ


There is another word that we must understand in order to learn
the parable of the fig tree.  That is the Greek word PAROUSIA, 
which essentially mean presence or arrival and has been translated
as "coming".  The word parousia is found in the following texts:
Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39 - 1 Corinthians 15:23 & 16:17
2 Corinthians 7:6-7 & 10:10 - Phil. 1:26; 2:12
1 Thesselonians 2:19; 3:13 & 4:15 & 5:23 
2 Thesselonians 2:1,8-9
James 5:7 -  2 Peter 1:16 & 3:4,12 - 1 John 2:28. 

The specific meaning of parousia is made clear in 
1 Thessalonians 4:15 when it is defined as the time that 
The LORD shall come out of heaven.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are
alive, and remain until the coming (parousia) of the Lord shall 
not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself 
will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the 
archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ 
shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught
up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, 
and thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one
another with these words."  -  1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (NASB)

This is the classic verse used to describe the rapture of the
Church.  Although the word Rapture is not found anywhere in the 
text of the entire Bible,  the word rapture comes from the Latin
and literally means gathering together.  Notice the similarities
in the text from 1 Thessalonians with that of another text
concerning the "rapture"

Keep in mind that all that are in Christ are described as the 
elect of God.  Continuing with our study of the Greek word 
parousia lets look at Matthew chapter 24 and keep in mind the
similarities in the events concerning the "rapture" 

Just as lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the 
west, so shall the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be. 
Wherever the corpse is there the vultures will gather.  But 
immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be 
darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will
fall from the sky, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear
in the sky and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and 
they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with
power and great glory.  And he will send forth his angles with a
great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the 
four winds from one end of the sky to the other."

Pay attention to the similarities:

1.)  the use of the word "parousia"
2.)  Christ coming in the clouds.
3.) the sounding of the trumpet.
4.) the gathering together (literal definition of the word 
rapture) of the elect.  With the evidence given one is led to 
conclude that the events spoken of in Mathew 24 and Mark 13 
concerning the second coming of Christ and the events in 
1 Thessalonians 4 -  2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 Corinthians 15
concerning the "rapture" of the Church are one and the same event.
This may sound shocking to some but I pray that you search the
Scriptures for yourself to have a clear understanding of the
things that are to come.  It is very important that we hold and
teach sound doctrine.

It is vitally important to understand the concept of God's elect
in order to understand what Scripture teaches.  So that we can 
understand the concept of election, lets first look at how a 
person is saved.  Our salvation is not based on any righteousness
of ourselves but on the righteousness of God.

By grace you have been saved through faith; not of ourselves, it
is the gift of God; not a result of works so no one can boast 
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB).

The Grace of God is expressed in the death burial & resurrection
of Jesus Christ.  An important thing to note is that salvation
has always been the result of faith in God and of His Grace.

What does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it
was reckoned to him as righteousness - Romans 4:3 (NASB)

There is no difference in salvation from the time of the
"Old Testament" and the "New Testament".  A careful study of the
book of Romans will show that there is no salvation in the Law,
salvation is always a result of believing God (faith).  

Romans Chapter 8 starts by declaring that there is no 
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus & explains that
the Spirit of God indwells those who believe and that it is the
Spirit that gives sonship.

Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who
justifies - Romans 8:33 (NASB).

Grammatically speaking, in the context of the text the elect are
those who are indwelled by the Spirit, and those who will not
receive condemnation because they are in Christ Jesus.  The word
"elect" is translated from the Greek word Eklektos which means:
chosen or elected (#1588 in Strongs Concordance).
We find eklektos used again translated as "chosen" in 

Colossians 3:12
Have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge
according to the image of the One who created him; a renewal in
which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised
and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but 
Christ is all and in all.  And so as those who have been chosen
of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:10-12 (NASB).

"eklektos" is used here with specific reference to all who believe.
Also notice that there is no difference between the Greek 
(or Gentile) and the Jew.  Let's look at this concept further in
Romans Chapter 9

It is not as though the word of God has failed.  For they are not
all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all 
children because they are Abraham's descendants, but through Isaac
our descendants will be named.  That is, it is not the children
of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the
promise are regarded as descendants  Romans 8:6-8 (NASB).

Who then are the children of the promise?  All those who have 
faith, both Jew and Gentile alike.  The Scriptures clearly show 
that the elect is one group of people, all those who have faith
in Christ.  If it be those who looked ahead to the coming of the
Messiah, or those of this present time who look back to the 
Messiah's death, burial and resurrection for their justification.

Don't be so concerned about what others think of you;
but do be concerned about what others think of JESUS 
because of you!

1 Timothy 4:12
Be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in
charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

TEACHING From  "Odell" 
Learn the parable of the fig tree

I posted this email teaching because it has many points people
use in researching end times prophecy.

Many countries have Christians, Believers, who are suffering
terrible persecution.  The USA will NOT escape persecution! 
We will go through terrible times, and I believe, with others
also, America will have war HERE, invaded by China and Russia



that the Light has come into the world, 
and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, 
for their deeds were evil.  

GOD so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
Eternal LIFE. For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

He who believes in Him is not judged;
he who does not believe has been judged already, 
because he has not believed in the name of the only 
begotten Son of God.  John 3:16-19


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Page date April, 2002 updated May 2007